August Isle

352p. HarperCollins/Harper. Apr. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062433411.
Gr 4 Up—The summer before Miranda starts eighth grade, her parents send her to August Isle, FL, to stay with her mother's ex-best friend and family. Miranda is eager to explore the bright streets and sandy beaches with Aunt Clare's daughter, Sammy. But mysteries abound. Why doesn't Miranda's mother want to be with her? Why did she throw out all of Clare's August Isle postcards? Why is Miranda so afraid of the sea? Who was Ben, a boy who apparently knew Clare and Miranda's mother when they were younger? Miranda is determined to overcome her fears and find answers. This book employs many well-worn tropes. There's a distant parent who has a painful secret, girls who look exactly like their mothers as children, an obnoxious boy who becomes their friend because there is nobody else to hang out with, a mysterious old man in the dilapidated house who just returned from years at sea, a nearby island where Something Bad happened in the past, and several locals who know what happened but won't tell the kids. Of course, Miranda disobeys warnings and sails to the forbidden island. History is repeated in a climactic scene and the truth is finally revealed. Although the plot is nothing new, Standish has created engaging characters, a pleasant setting, and enough intrigue to hook young readers.
VERDICT A general purchase for fans of light summer mysteries.

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