Recommended audience: 10 to adult
Category: YA or juvenile fiction, historical
I am falling in love with this author. After reading The Wednesday Wars I knew I had to read some more by Gary Schmidt. The cover of this book did not entice me very much and even though it had won a Newbery Honor (as had The Wednesday Wars) it did take me a long time to finally dig in and read it. I was richly rewarded for my efforts. This book is based on true events which took place in Maine in 1911. The small island of Malaga was home to about 50 people, mostly black, who lived in very poor conditions. The people of Phippsburg felt that the little homes and shacks on the island were an eyesore and were hurting Phippsburg's prospects for a thriving tourism business. They wanted the people of Malaga Island evicted. This book tells that story through the eyes of Lizzie Bright and Turner Buckminster (fictional characters), a black girl and white boy who become friends. Both funny and heartbreaking, I think this book could be a good book club selection because of its many themes including racism, religion, friendship, and family relationships.