Seven Clues to Home

Random/Knopf Bks. for Young Readers. Jun. 2020. 208p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593119617.
Gr 4-7–This tearjerker introduces readers to Joy, waking up on her 13th birthday, and Lukas, her best friend since second grade. His accidental death the previous year is the reason Joy is dreading the day. Lukas’s tradition of setting up a scavenger hunt for Joy’s birthday provides the structure for the story, as Joy decides to open last year’s first clue and follow wherever it leads. In alternating chapters, the narrative flashes back to Lukas placing each clue. Readers will cheer Lukas on as he musters up the courage to share his burgeoning romantic feelings with Joy, and they will cheer Joy on as she bravely works through her grief and follows the clues. Both storylines end on a hopeful note, and readers can be reassured that Joy, with the help of her supportive family, will be able to move on.
VERDICT This bittersweet exploration of grief and growing up will appeal to thoughtful tweens.

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