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Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2013 The small Australian town of Old Lower Grange drowned the day Cassie was born, buried underneath a newly developed reservoir as the town recreated itself nearby as New Lower Grange. Cassie has always been obsessed with the old town, site of so much of her family’s history, and when she’s had enough of swimming in the town pool (“It was the seven Band-Aid swim that finally sank me”) she starts sneaking into the reservoir over Old Lower Grange to swim there. The receding water levels allow her and her classmate Liam to dive down and reach bits of the old town, but what they find is strange-an expensive car that would have been brand new at the time secreted in an outlying shed. The mayor’s new determination to keep people out of that side of the reservoir, however, claiming dangers that Cassie and Liam know aren’t there, may interfere with their sleuthing. McKinlay neatly weaves together an offbeat realistic tale and an accessible mystery, writing with calm, easygoing accessibility and a touch of poetry as Cassie and Liam traverse the waters to look for a past they never lived. Cassie is credibly haunted by Old Lower Grange, and the flooding of the past seems both marvelous and heedless. The mystery is within plausible bounds, and it leads to a secret that’s tragic but ultimately freeing. This makes the beautifully eerie seem everyday, an impressive feat that makes for an easy booktalk and an inviting read. DS - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 04/20/2013 Gr 5–7—On the day Cassie was born, her town was drowned; the New Lower Grange replaced the old one but without its history. Cassie feels responsible somehow that her early birth disconnected her family from their past. As she turns 12, she finds herself drawn to the lake that now covers the town she has only heard stories about. Her mother insists that daily swims in the town pool are important to strengthen her lungs, but Cassie is distracted by Band-Aids in the water, the cruelty of more popular kids, and her own self-consciousness. But the now officially forbidden lake is quiet, removed, and very appealing. During the dry, hot summer, the lake gradually recedes as Cassie's friendship with a classmate, a surprisingly kindred spirit, develops. Together Liam and Cassie uncover the mysteries of Old Lower Grange hidden below the lake and see how their lives have been changed by those secrets. Though pacing is initially slowed by Cassie's introspection, readers will hold their breath as she challenges herself, swimming far into the forbidden side of the lake as the story unfolds. Her voice is convincing as she and Liam glimpse more of the drowned town. By novel's end, the town and all of its residents come to grips with the past and look forward to a bright, swimming future. Readers will enjoy spending time with Cassie and Liam and will appreciate the satisfying resolution.—Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.