Lemons by Melissa Savage
Full disclosure: I didn't mean to get this book. I was hurriedly putting new graphic novels on hold for The Kid when this title popped up. Someone had mislabeled it as a graphic novel and when I tried to hand it over to The Kid, he just handed it right back. I thought the premise was too cute to not give it a quick read, and three hours and a box of tissues later, I finally put it down.
I also bought a copy for my Library.
Things are not going as Lem would like. But as her mama as always said, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." But now with her mama gone, how will Lemonade Liberty Witt ever be able to make lemons into lemonade again? Instead of staying in San Francisco with her school and friends, she is sent to live with her grandfather, a man she has never met, in a tiny town in the woods. Once there, Lem meets Tobin, the towns official Bigfoot investigator and CEO of Bigfoot Detectives Inc. What begins as a temporary assignment as Tobin's assistant turns into an incredible adventure. The two detectives spend their summer days investigating calls of Bigfoot sightings, ignoring the neighborhood bullies, and trying to keep the peace between Lem and her grandfather.
When a particular Bigfoot sighting leads to actual evidence of a mysterious entity roaming the woods, the children discover something much bigger than they ever could have imagined.
This story does such an amazing job of showing how childhood grief and loss can affect a child. Lem has lost everything: her mother, her home, her school and friends. Now she's expected to just move in with a person she has never met and someone she knows her mother hasn't spoken to in years. On top of her own grief, Lem's grandfather is also trying to deal with losing a daughter and now trying to raise a granddaughter he has never met. Slowly, the two begin to find common ground. Lem begins to notice her favorite snacks in the pantry and in turn, tries to be more patient with her grandfather. Tobin is also dealing with his own trauma. His father was captured during the Vietnam War and kept prisoner for several years. But when he was finally recused and on his way back home, he suddenly went missing. No one had seen or heard from him after his plane landed in the states. The stress that Tobin was dealing with on a daily basis of not knowing where his father was or why he wouldn't come home must have been immense. Whether the children really knew or not, it was their loss that bonded them together.
These children are allowed a lot of freedom in the story and I think many children will find that very appealing. They're only eleven but are left to roam around town and investigate Bigfoot sightings all their own. Our two detectives even spend an entire night by themselves in the backyard of a neighbors house watching for a Bigfoot sighting. There's also a lot of hot dog eating going on.
This is a beautifully written story of love, loss, and finding family where you least expect it.
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