(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Placid, Wisconsin; 1871—When 13-year-old Georgie Burkhardt lets a juicy secret slip, it sends her shocked older sister off in a huff. A long ways off. Two weeks later, the sheriff returns from his search for Agatha with nothing but a corpse. The body is that of a young woman, but beyond that, the remains are unidentifiable. Because it's dressed in a distinctive blue-green ball gown that belonged to Agatha Burkhardt, everyone assumes the dead girl is Agatha. Everyone except Georgie, that is. As guilty as she feels over the part she played in her sister's disappearance, Georgie refuses to believe Agatha is dead. She can't stand the thought that "Agatha—sister, friend, guide to life, and the eighth wonder of my world" (15) could be gone for good.
Armed with her trusty Springfield rifle and mounted on a not-so-trusty mule, Georgie sets out on a quest to find her sister. She knows only that nature-loving Agatha ran off with a suspicious-looking group of "pigeoners" following the birds' migration. What happened after that is anyone's guess. Despite her well-deserved reputation as a sharpshooter, Georgie's not as confident as she appears to be. As she confronts all the dangers the western frontier has to offer, she'll have to harness every ounce of strength within her in order to find the sister she loves. Even if—especially if—the trail leads straight back to a freshly-dug grave in Placid, Wisconsin.
I can't remember which blogger recommended One Came Home by Amy Timberlake, but her review of the book immediately sparked my interest. It sounded like a unique middle grade adventure story with a quirky heroine and a vivid historical setting. Which it is. Georgie brings a lot to the table with her strong personality, wry sense of humor and unwavering devotion to her sister. She makes the story. Her various adventures keep the tale interesting, as does the mystery of Agatha's fate. For all the build-up, the ending of One Came Home did strike me as a bit anti-climactic. Still and all, I enjoyed this rollicking Western yarn.
(Readalikes: Hm, I can't think of anything. Can you?)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for violence and vague references to prostitution
To the FTC, with love: Another library