Goldenrod Moram loves nothing better than a good quest. Intrepid, curious, and full of a well-honed sense of adventure, she decides to start her own exploring team fashioned after her idols, the explorers Lewis and Clark, and to map the forest right behind her home. This task is complicated, however, by a series of unique events—a chance encounter with a mysterious old lady has her searching for a legendary blue rose. Another encounter lands her in the middle of a ragtag gang of brilliant troublemakers. And when she stumbles upon none other than the ghost of Meriwether Lewis himself, Goldenrod knows this will be anything but an ordinary summer . . . or an ordinary quest. Debut author Sarvenaz Tash combines an edge-of-your-seat adventure, a uniquely clever voice, and an unforgettable cast of characters to prove that sometimes the best adventures of all are waiting right in your own backyard.
The Mapmaker and the Ghost
The Mapmaker and the Ghost by Sarvenaz Tash is filled with fantastical adventures and map talk galore! It’s entertaining and imaginative and sure to suck the reader in right away.
Goldenrod Moram is a wonderfully done protagonist – she’s full self-conscious feelings that come with the start of middle school, yet still maintains that fun innocence and imagination that is so appealing to the reader. Goldenrod, and all of the characters with their wacky nicknames and misfit activities, are a ton of fun and the reader will love getting lost in their world.
The Mapmaker and the Ghost is quick paced with an action-packed storyline. The story jumps from bullying to ghosts to kidnapping, all written with an entertaining and yet honorable touch.
The Mapmaker and the Ghost by Sarvenaz Tash will definitely appeal to fans of middle grade adventure and exploration, and map lovers of all kinds! Be sure to check out if The Mapmaker and The Ghost if it sounds like something you’d enjoy it – this is not a debut to miss!
Eleven year old Goldenrod Moram (named for her mother's favorite hobby) is an adventurer at heart. She shines off the page! Her thirst for adventure is infectious, and I loved that her hobby was so different from most other young people When her best friend moves away, Goldenrod sets off to make the most detailed map of her hometown ever! After all, that is what her idols Lewis and Clark did. Little does Goldenrod know that an adventure awaits her, deep in the woods of her very own town.
To be honest, Tash’s entire cast of characters is simply fabulous. My favorite was Goldenrod’s little brother, Birch. A sweet boy, his relationship with his older sister was so adorable! It's not very often that you see a little brother character who looks up to his older sister so much. When they get involved with the Gross-Out Gang, a group of ragtag misfits who love to be gross, Goldenrod and Birch show what they are really made of. It has been a while since I've seen a brother and sister duo who were so in tune. It made reading this book so much fun!
Fast paced and filled with twists and turns, this is a story that will hold the attention of readers of all ages. I read through it in one sitting! Tash’s writing is right on target for her intended audience, but she doesn't speak down to them either. I picked up a lot of facts while reading. Learning and being part of a quest? Who could ask for more? Goldenrod’s quest for the blue rose mixes wonderfully with her battle against the Gross-Out Gang and this book just flies by.
If you have a young reader at home who is looking for an adventure, pick up a copy of The Mapmaker and the Ghost as quick as you can! Goldenrod and her friends are waiting to take you on their quest.
See that first sentence up there? Well, Tash totally hooked me with that and the remainder of the first paragraph in which we learn how Goldenrod is not much like her name sounds, and just what she thinks about princesses. From that amusing beginning, The Mapmaker and the Ghost amused and impressed me all the way through, never once losing my attention.
This is one of those books that definitely makes me wonder why I don't read more middle grade fiction. I mean, I know why I don't; it's because a lot of middle grade can make an older reader want to headdesk because the kids spend chapters trying to solve simple riddles. THIS is not one of those books, and Goldenrod is not one of those heroines.
Speaking of Goldenrod, she is totally fabulous. I'm pretty sure that if I had to choose one word to describe her it would be something like 'precocious' or 'cheeky.' She's clever and spunky, and I'm sure she will grow up to be a delightfully snarky girl. In fact, Goldenrod is just the type of just graduated fifth grader who might be obsessed with explorers Lewis & Clark, enough so that she wants to create a map of her town. All kids get obsessed with things like that, by which I mean seemingly weird and random tasks, but not every kid has the dedication of Goldenrod (I sure didn't). There is no doubt in my mind that she will go on to do amazing things.
The quest plot line for the rose was fun and mingled well with the other happenings, although I was slightly worried for a time that these might not come together properly. Thankfully, the strings do get all tied up in the end. The world as depicted here has little to do with reality (hello, ghost of Meriweather Lewis!), but it's hugely fun and humorous. Actually, the sassy ghost had me flashing back a little bit to the ghosts from another Apocalypsies book, Croak by Gina Damico. I apparently love sassy ghosts. I know something new about myself now.
Now that the rather serious things are on the way, we can talk about the really gross stuff, the fun things that you really don't get in YA. Tash has a ton of that in here. You get snot, puns, the fuzz between toes, and belly button lint, among other gross things. There's also Barf, although that's actually a teacher's name, which, adult though I may technically be now, made me laugh EVERY TIME.
My favorite quirk of the book, though, was actually the weird food concoctions that everyone in Goldenrod's family seem to whip up, and maybe even some other folks too. It's like this town, or at least the coolest people in it, have discovered a whole new world of food combinations. Maybe Goldenrod will go on to become an explorer of the palate and of taste sensations. :-p Seriously, watch for these, because they are hilarious and mixed throughout. Some sounded atrocious and some, horrendously picky eater though I am, sounded pretty tempting, like this one: a peanut butter, strawberry and cheerios sandwich. That may have potential.
Tash's debut is clever, unique and fantastical, basically everything I hope for a middle grade book to be. If middle grade fiction is something you enjoy, you would be doing yourself a disservice missing out on this one.