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Thursday, December 10, 2020

MG Scavenger Hunt Novel Upbeat Despite Grief Theme

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Last year, Joy Fonseca had a smart, kind best friend named Lukas Brunetti.  She had even begin to think of him as more than just a buddy.  Then, he had an accident and died.  Joy is consumed by grief, still aching from the loss a year later.  On her 13th birthday, she finally decides to open the envelope Lukas left for her exactly one year ago on the morning he died.  She knows it's the first clue in their annual birthday scavenger hunt.  Is it possible that the clues he planted then will still be there now?  Joy's not sure, but she's finally ready to find out.

As Joy travels all over her little seaside town following Lukas' clues, she's reminded of all the great memories they made together.  Swinging back-and-forth between the present (from Joy's point-of-view) and the past (from Lukas'), the story paints a picture of a sweet friendship, the kind that endures even when death intervenes.

Although Seven Clues to Home by Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin is about grief and other hard things, it's a hopeful novel that reminds readers how important it is to live even in the face of heartbreak.  It's more upbeat than it sounds, featuring likable characters and a treasure hunt format that makes it into a fun, exciting adventure with a little bit of mystery mixed in.  While I didn't absolutely adore this novel, I did enjoy it overall.

(Readalikes:  I feel like there are a million middle grade novels about grief, but no specific title is coming to mind.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for tough subject matter and references to illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. This concept reminds me of The Last Wish of Sasha Cade, where the besties leaves a scavenger hunt for her. I love grief books, and this one sounds really touching

  2. What is it about scavenger hunts in books that are so much fun? :)

  3. I love the idea that Lukas left her birthday clues and that she gets to remember him as she follows the clues!


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