- Summer of Lost and Found by Rebecca Behrens
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-5896-2 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-5902-0 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4-7
Nell Dare knows there’s something amiss between her parents. Why else has her writer father left the country, and her scientist mother taken Nell along on a research trip to Roanoke Island, North Carolina? While Nell ponders the domestic mystery, she becomes enmeshed in the historical conundrum that surrounds Roanoke Island, namely the disappearance of sixteenth-century colonists who left a single tree carving as a hint to why they abandoned their settlement and where they went. Local girl Lila is a pushy know-it-all who tries to enlist Nell as her assistant in looking for paranormal traces of colonists; Nell, however, prefers to spend her time with Ambrose, a historical reenactor who is trying to solve the disappearance of his own father. Readers will figure out long before Nell does that Ambrose is the very ghost Lila would give her eye teeth to interview, but that doesn’t diminish the pleasure of following Nell’s summer of untangling puzzles in the company of new earthly and unearthly acquaintances. Behrens takes some broad liberties in offering fictional solutions to some of Roanoke’s mystery, so her audience would be well advised to peruse her endnotes and some of her appended resources to sort out factual details. For middle-graders finding their own summer vacations less than exciting, Nell’s investigation will be a pleasant diversion.