Author: Harris, Teresa E.
Twelve-year-old Treasure Daniels and her younger sister must move in with Great-aunt Grace until their mother sorts herself out, but life in Black Lake, Virginia, where segregation lingers, is hard and Grace is a nightmare--at least on the surface.
Kirkus Reviews (10/01/14)
School Library Journal (09/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (01/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2014 Gr 5–7—In this moving and insightful debut, 12-year-old Treasure is tired of moving from place to place every time her unreliable father leaves the family. At the opening of the novel, Treasure's father is gone and her mother leaves her and her younger sister, Tiffany, with their Great-Aunt Grace in the small town of Black Lake, Virginia. Treasure does not want to be there, and her introduction to her no-nonsense relative only strengthens her resolve to stay detached during her mother's absence. Great-Aunt Grace does not mince words. Among the first things she tells Treasure and Tiffany are her rules: "I don't take no sass," she says before pulling out her ever present pack of cigarettes. While working in Grace's small candy store, Treasure begins to meet other memorable residents of Black Lake, including Terrance, a boy with whom she tentatively establishes a friendship, and Jaguar, a wealthy girl who purposely causes trouble for the protagonist. It is Great-Aunt Grace, however, who steals the show. While readers expect that she is concealing a kinder heart than she's willing to expose, the development of the genuinely warm relationship between Treasure and Grace is memorable. Harris weaves humor, a light mystery, and a tender coming-of-age story in this unforgettable novel. Each of the characters, including minor ones, are well-drawn with distinctive and authentic voices. Like Dorothy in Frank L. Baum's The Wizard of Oz, Treasure learns that she was already in the "perfect place," but her journey to that realization is rich and rewarding.—Shelley Sommer, Inly School, Scituate, MA - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 11/15/2014 Two months after 12-year-old Treasure’s dad left without further word, her mom decides to search for him, and she takes Treasure and her younger sister to stay with their cantankerous Great-Aunt Grace in Black Lake, Virginia. It’s hard to say whether Treasure or her aunt is unhappier with this arrangement, but since Treasure is narrating the tale, it’s easier to see her side of things as she rails against the unfairness of it all. Gradually, as events unfold in this small town, she comes to appreciate her gruff, independent relative. Treasure is a strong African American character with a feisty streak and a precocious love of words, while Great-Aunt Grace is reminiscent of Richard Peck’s Grandma Dowdel—an independent thinker who is unconcerned with what the neighbors think, but (surreptitiously) very much a part of her community. Readers will find sly humor here as well as the pleasure of seeing justice done on several levels. A satisfying first novel with a realistic but heartening ending. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 01/01/2015 Treasure’s father has been gone two months, and Treasure, her little sister, Tiffany, and their mother can’t pay their rent. With their landlord threatening eviction, their mother whisks the girls away to a tiny town in Virginia and leaves them with their ancient, grumpy Great-Aunt Grace while Mom sets off to find their wayward father. Treasure and her aunt immediately take to verbally sparring, with Treasure pulling out all of the multi-syllable dictionary words that she and her father loved to learn together. She also gets reluctantly involved with some of the kids in town, including Terrance, a boy who won’t stop talking, and a couple of mean-spirited girls. When she helps her great-aunt solve a minor mystery, and Grace in turn helps Treasure get a bit of revenge, the two achieve détente, and Treasure begins to rethink what it means to find your perfect place. Although the plot arc is sweetly predictable, Treasure’s happy ending is one she makes rather than one that is unrealistically contrived, putting such a feat within reach of readers whose own circumstances are less than ideal. Treasure’s love of words adds texture to her character, and Terrance’s open admiration for her verbal ability validates both of these smart kids as likable and worthy of emulation. The small-town dynamics draw on recognizable characters without becoming stereotypes; Great-Aunt Grace, for instance, is full of surprises. Treasure herself is a resourceful and mature sixth-grader who stands up for herself and earns the well-deserved respect of the adults in her life. KC - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.