LONG LOST, by Jacqueline West, Greenwillow Books, May 18, 2021, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 8-12)
Long Lost is New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline West’s newest middle-grade mystery.
When Fiona’s family moves to a new town to be closer to her older sister’s figure skating club — and far from Fiona’s close-knit group of friends — nobody seems to notice Fiona’s unhappiness. Alone and out of place, Fiona ventures to the town’s library, a rambling mansion donated by a long-dead heiress. And there she finds a gripping mystery novel about a small town, family secrets, and a tragic disappearance.
Soon Fiona begins to notice strange similarities that blur the lines between the novel and her new town. With a little help from a few odd Lost Lake locals, Fiona uncovers the book’s strange history. Lost Lake is a town of restless spirits, and Fiona will learn that both help and danger come from unexpected places — maybe even from the sister she thinks doesn’t care about her anymore. —Synopsis provided by Greenwillow Books
Long Lost is a tale of sisters — two sets from two time periods. And while their circumstances are different, their lives parallel each other in multiple ways. These familial connections are at the heart of this novel, influencing each of the characters’ choices.
Equally important is the mystery Fiona stumbles upon. The novel she discovers is dark and atmospheric. And as that world bleeds into the “real” one, Long Lost becomes a page-turner.
I often recommend Jacqueline West’s Books of Elsewhere series, which follows a girl who travels into paintings. Though those books and Long Lost have different subjects, they both give off that ghost-story tingle that middle-readers love.
Long Lost is a fast-moving read that never feels forced or too convenient. There are enough twists to keep even the best sleuths entertained. It should appeal to a large cross section of readers.
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