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Quicksand Pond Hardcover – May 16, 2017
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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"One false accusation, tossed like a stone into a pond, creates a ripple effect that damages a family for generations. This story, so beautifully and tenderly told, will wrap you in its wings from the first page to the last. Don’t expect the flight to be smooth.” (Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Underneath)
*STARRED REVIEW* "Deftly navigating a diverse array of socioeconomic statuses and the discriminatory nature of the justice system, Newbery Honor-winner 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." (Booklist, February 2017, starred review)
*STARRED REVIEW* "A summer beside Quicksand Pond on Rhode Island's coast transforms a reluctant 12-year-old.... Unfolding slowly in simple, quiet prose, this sensitive, compelling story alternates between Jessie's present experiences and Henrietta's befuddled memories until they collide in a disturbing, pivotal climax. A suspenseful, realistic, finely crafted story exploring friendship, trust, and how we judge others." (Kirkus Reviews, March 2017, starred review)
"Lisle deftly balances the stories of Jessie’s coming of age, Terri’s downward spiral, and the truth behind the murder; the eventual coalescence of the three involves a simple but surprising twist, leaving readers with a compelling, but still melancholy, ending. The girls’ relationship is realistic in its ups and downs, with Jessie initially craving the attention of her coolly aloof new friend and then Terri desperately clinging to Jessie as things go awry. The focus occasionally shifts from the girls to the old woman who was involved in the long-ago crime, and her perspective gives the story both an air of mystery and an element of aching sorrow. A tale of how one summer, one person, or one event can forever change the direction of a life, this will appeal to readers who prefer their beach reads thoughtful rather than frothy." (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, March 2017)
"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." (School Library Journal, March 2017)
"Echoing the themes and tone of Lisle’s Newbery Honor–winning Afternoon of the Elves, this loss-of-innocence novel traces the delicate friendship built between two girls from different backgrounds.... With characteristic subtlety and enormous compassion, Lisle expresses complex family and social conflicts while showing how Jessie’s understanding of the world and her newfound friend expand, even as the views of those around her remain narrow. Terri’s struggle against oppression and prejudice will have as profound an impact on readers as it does on Jessie." (Publishers Weekly, March 2017)
"[S]ubtle, gripping..." (The Wall Street Journal, May 13-14)
"Quicksand Pond by Janet Taylor Lisle (Newbery Honor Book Afternoon of the Elves; The Art of Keeping Cool) is a beautiful, realistic story about trust, self-doubt and judgment." (Shelf Awareness, May 19, 2017)
“Provides a realistic view of social differences and cultural perceptions, serving as a foundation for deep discussions about their influences on individuals. The book will appeal to curriculum needs and those seeking a fun adventure. Recommended.” (School Library Connection August/September 2017)
About the Author
Janet Taylor Lisle’s books for young readers have received the Newbery Honor Award (Afternoon of the Elves), the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction (The Art of Keeping Cool), Holland’s Zilveren Griffel, and Italy’s Premio Andersen Award, among other honors. A graduate of Smith College and former journalist, Janet lives in Rhode Island and often draws on Rhode Island history in her work. Visit her online at JanetTaylorLisle.com.
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Top customer reviews
she could've left a sneak peek like most authors do in their books. Anyhow, the ending was really disappointing. I would not recommend this book.
Jessie's father decides to take her, her young brother and older sister off to a house near the beach, while the mother stays and works away. As always. But the house isn't nearly as lovely as any of them had hoped. The family vacation soon turns into a splitting of ways, and Jessie finds solace on a rickety raft on a sludgy pond. When a girl her age hides out with her between the weeds to escape her angry father, a friendship forms. But the father isn't the only dismal thing surrounding the pond. Memories and prejudices are as thick as the mud, and a long unsolved mystery threatens to break up whatever friendship the two girls managed to form.
The writing in this book is as artistic as a painting. The world comes to life in all of its sights, smells and sounds, drawing into a masterpiece of place and scene. The pond haunts and delights with its areas of shadows had hidden corners which can be either threatening of freeing. Much like the story itself. This isn't a light read, but rather digs into some fairly tough areas and searches the darker side of a small town's soul.
Jessie and Terri come from two different worlds but show that such differences don't really mean anything as they bond together. The desire of exploration and hiding in their own world hits a chord many middle grade readers will understand.
This book is intended for audiences around ages 9 and up, but I'm not sure it's a read that will pull many readers of this age in. In the sense of the writing, topic and characters, it fits well, but other aspects make it heavy for this age group. While beautiful, the writing pulls the story along a bit slow, leaving several places where there's the danger that the book might be laid down. One of the more delightful characters, Henrietta, is a older woman with dementia. While her character is very interesting (and I found her thoughts simply a joy to read), I wonder if younger readers will really sympathize or connect with her. Especially the ending surprises. While taking a new twist to the plot and array of subplots - which was refreshing - it was a little confusing and left many ends unsettled.
Summed up, this is a beautiful read which is sure to delight especially fans of heavier and more meaningful tales. However, I question whether middle graders are the right audience and would see this more for ages 11 and up. Even then, this is a book for a more serious audience and not for the light, fast paced fans.
I received a complimentary copy and found the writing amazing enough to want to leave my honest thoughts.