An instant New York Times bestseller!
“Storytelling for young readers at its finest—equal parts summer adventure and environmental suspense…[a] love letter to family, friendship, and the natural world.” —Kwame Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of The Crossover
From New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe comes a beautiful story of friendship, loss, and the healing power of nature in her first book for middle grade readers.
Eleven-year-old Jake’s life has just turned upside-down. His father was wounded in Afghanistan, and his mother is going to leave to care for him. That means Jake’s spending the summer on tiny Dewees Island with his grandmother. The island is a nature sanctuary—no cars or paved roads, no stores or restaurants. To make matters worse, Jake’s grandmother doesn’t believe in cable or the internet. Which means Jake has no cell phone, no video games...and no friends. This is going to be the worst summer ever!
He’s barely on the island before he befriends two other kids—Macon, another “summer kid,” and Lovie, know-it-all who lives there and shows both Jake and Macon the ropes of life on the island. All three are struggling with their own family issues and they quickly bond, going on adventures all over Dewees Island. Until one misadventure on an abandoned boat leads to community service. Their punishment? Mandatory duty on the Island Turtle Team. The kids must do a daily dawn patrol of the beach on the hunt for loggerhead sea turtle tracks. When a turtle nest is threatened by coyotes, the three friends must find a way to protect it. Can they save the turtle nest from predators? Can Jake’s growing love for the island and its inhabitants (be they two-legged, four-legged, feathered, or finned) help to heal his father?
In collaboration with journalist May, adult author Monroe makes her middle grade debut with this comforting beach read about the healing power of friendship and nature. When Jake's military officer father is wounded in Afghanistan, necessitating a visit from Jake's Air Force lieutenant colonel mother, the 11-year-old must visit his enterprising grandmother Honey on Dewees Island, S.C., the lush nature preserve where she lives. He dreads a summer without technology and his New Jersey friends, but meeting a fellow summer kid, fact lover Macon, and local island expert Lovie, a skilled boater, helps Jake engage with the island's "Huck Finn life." Discovering his father's naturalist journals, Jake nurtures an ecological interest of his own that escalates when the three friends must serve community service on dawn turtle patrol after appropriating a boat they thought abandoned. The narrative handles weighty issues considerately, including Lovie's feelings about her biological father and how the boat incident affects Macon, who is Black, more than his cued-white friends. If the fact that each friend harbors a secret feels a bit tidy, the small-town community instills a strong sense of place, and the trio's chemistry holds promise for future installments. Includes resources about the island and its wildlife. Ages 8 12. \n
Loved the Islanders
Fun to read! Learned a lot. Can’t wait for the next book in the series.