Author: Lisle, Janet Taylor
Twelve-year-old Jessie spends the summer with her family on Quicksand Pond, a New England vacation spot, where she develops a star-crossed friendship with independent Terri, and meets a reclusive old lady whose connection to a murder that took place decades ago still informs her present--and affects Terri in ways that Jessie gradually comes to understand the more time they spend together.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 189211
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.40
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 00184
Kirkus Reviews (+) (03/15/17)
School Library Journal (03/01/17)
Booklist (+) (02/15/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/03/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/15/2017 *Starred Review* When Eddie Carr was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, the family dairy folded, the family barn burned to the ground, and the family name, too, suffered irreparable damage. In fact, five decades later, 12-year-old Terri, Eddie’s great-granddaughter, is still paying the price, living at the west end of Quicksand Pond with her abusive, alcoholic father. But Jessie Kettel, a vacationing outsider, hasn’t heard the rumors. And when a mysterious old raft appears at the water’s edge, the two girls work to repair it, developing a profound, if precarious, friendship. As town gossip and the Kettel family’s judgment simmers in the background—and long-misunderstood local Henrietta Cutting staggers into the foreground—Jessie comes to a most unsettling conclusion: the closer she gets to Terri, the closer she could be to unknowable danger. Deftly navigating a diverse array of socioeconomic statuses and the discriminatory nature of the justice system, Newbery Honor Book author Lisle crafts a stirring story that raises crucial questions about the assumptions we make, the distances we keep, and the vulnerable voices we often fail to hear. As Lisle details Terri’s determination to cease a vicious cycle, Henrietta’s resolve to remedy an unjust past, and Jessie’s aching ambivalence between the cautionary advice of others and her own hard-won revelations, readers are sure to listen. Striking, enigmatic, and haunting all around. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2017 Gr 4–6—Tween Jessie travels with her English professor father and her siblings to the titular Rhode Island setting for a summer away from her workaholic lawyer mother. Tired of her "perfect" older sister and bug-loving younger brother, she prefers to explore nature by herself. Jessie discovers an abandoned raft and soon meets the nearly feral Terri, who divulges all the town gossip, except for that about her own abusive father. The partnership of clandestine raft repair seals the friendship and introduces the raft's original owner, Miss Cutting, a dementia patient who is unable to leave her home, who secretly watches the girls with envy from the mansion where her parents were murdered when she was a child. Jessie and Terri have a falling-out when Jessie accidentally insults the wild child by repeating town chatter. When Miss Cutting's home is robbed and her garage set on fire, adults press Jessie to incriminate her friend, who has been camping out rather than living at home. Miss Cutting's mental meshing of past and present, along with the robbery and fire, leads her to recall details about the long-ago murder. Meanwhile, Terri is facing juvenile detention and Jessie must decide if she will speak up. The author's writing, as always, is filled with rich imagery and atmospheric descriptions. Readers will come away feeling as if they have visited the locale themselves. VERDICT This complex tale is aptly bittersweet and invites reflection about justice, judgment, and loyalty. A strong purchase for fans of layered, realistic mysteries and drama.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.