Fans of Wendy Maas and Lynda Mullaly Hunt will love this perfectly pitched story about friendship, family, and loss from Suzanne Crowley, the acclaimed author of The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous.
After her grandfather died from a heart attack while driving his tractor on Solace Hill, twelve-year-old Esme's been inextricably drawn to that spot, although her grandmother warns her to stay away. But when she follows her little brother, Bo, and her dog, Old Jack, up the hill while chasing fireflies, she makes an incredible discovery—dinosaur bones peeking out from underneath the abandoned tractor.
The bones must be a message from her grandfather, a connection from beyond the grave. But when word gets out that the farm is hiding something valuable, reporters, researchers, and neighbors arrive in droves. Esme struggles to understand who has her best interests at heart, especially as the memory of her grandfather begins to slip away.
Full of friendship and adventure, and featuring a palpable Texas setting, Finding Esme is a moving and heartfelt story about family, friendship, and learning to deal with loss.
From acclaimed author Suzanne Crowley, this engaging adventure set on a Texas peach farm is just right for fans of Rebecca Stead and Ann M. Martin.
When Esme discovers dinosaur bones coming up out of the dirt on the family's peach farm, she feels that she finally has something that is all her own, and she tends to her secret--and to the bones--as all sorts of family and community drama swirls around her.
FINDING ESME is a good book that touches on grief, small town living, and family relationships. There's a bit of magic in the story as both Esme and her grandmother, Bee, have the gift of finding things that people have lost--though it's uncertain that either of them would consider the skill a gift. There are ghosts, too, but the majority of the book is rooted in Esme's struggles to understand everything that's going on with her family and the townspeople while navigating some typical pre-teen concerns.
There is a LOT happening in this book. The number of storylines never becomes overwhelming, but it definitely keeps Esme's story from truly finding its direction. I enjoyed the book, and I thought the writing itself was lovely, but a typical middle grades reader may lose patience with the sometimes-slow pace, the lack of focus, and the number of unresolved narratives.
My thanks to the publisher and YA Books Central for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.