The Lifters

336p. Knopf. Mar. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781524764166.
Gr 3–6—The Flowerpetal family moves to a town called Carousel on the promise of work and a lower cost of living. However, the town that formerly housed the Catalan Carousel Company doesn't look prosperous with a collapsed carousel in front of its city hall. The protagonist of the story is Gran, short for Granite, and his family includes his father, a mechanic; his mother, a wheelchair user who used to work on displays of animals at museums; and little sister Maisie. Gran takes after his mother by sculpting animals out of clay, much to the delight of Maisie. But now with no money for clay, Gran feels sad and lacking in purpose. He finds solace in eating his lunch in a storage room at school with a man called the Duke, who used to carve carousel animals. Gran follows the only classmate who speaks to him, Catalina Catalan, and sees her disappear into a hillside. When sinkholes start appearing throughout the town, Gran and Catalina go on a mission to save the town from the Hollows, a mysterious wind that is creating tunnels underground and unearthing pieces of Carousel's past. Gran eventually realizes that sadness is not experienced in isolation and that one small act of happiness can help spread support throughout an entire community. This atmospheric story's detailed plot moves quickly, and all of the characters experience growth. The story has some troubling moments: Gran steals his mother's wheelchair, and even though he returns it, he doesn't seem to understand the potential ramifications of his actions.
VERDICT A whimsical, fantastical story with elements of realism; a general purchase for large and mid-sized collections.

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