Lemons by Melissa Savage (May 2, 2017, Crown Books for Young Readers, 320 pages, for ages 8 to 12)
Synopsis (from the publisher): Lemonade Liberty Witt’s mama always told her: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But Lem can’t possibly make lemonade out of her new life in Willow Creek, California—the Bigfoot Capital of the World—where she’s forced to live with a grandfather she’s never met after her mother passes away.
Summer seems to bring Lem lemons upon lemons as she deals with an entire new life without any of the comforts of her old home—and then she meets Tobin Sky.
Eleven years old and the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives Inc., Tobin is the sole Bigfoot investigator for their small town. After he invites Lem to be his assistant for the summer, they set out on an epic adventure to capture the elusive beast on film. But along the way, Lem and Tobin end up discovering more than they ever could have imagined. And Lem realizes that maybe she can make lemonade out of her new life after all.
Why I recommend it: The voice captivated me from Page 1. Lemonade Liberty Witt is a 10-year-old you won't soon forget. Written in first person present tense, this sometimes bittersweet, always refreshing story has an immediacy that makes you feel all the feels right alongside Lemonade.
Yes, this is one of those novels where the mother has just died. But it's so well handled, and Tobin and grandfather Charlie and even minor characters like Mrs. Dickerson are so real and likable, you'll find yourself won over, even if you normally turn down novels where a parent dies. Surprisingly, there's a great deal of humor here. Perhaps that's what charmed me, that and the rollicking search for Bigfoot. No spoilers, but the adventure is worth the ride.
In addition, short chapters and lots of dialogue make this a fast, easy read.
Favorite lines (Lemonade's first impression of her grandfather, Charlie): "He's missing the middle part of his hair, like someone divided his head up into thirds and subtracted the center." (p. 12)
Bonus: The story actually takes place in 1975, at a time when you still had to get up to turn off the TV or change the channel. I think it was a brilliant move on the author's part, because these kids have no cell phones, no computers, no distractions to keep them from going outside.
Photo credit: Jerri Parness Photography
If you missed it, here's an interview with the author on Caroline Starr Rose's blog
The blog tour continues!
May 12: YA Books Central
May 13: Cafinated Reads
May 15: Middle Grade Mafioso