The Adventure Is Now

Farrar. May 2021. 336p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374314712.
Gr 4-6–Milton, a young white boy, is having a horrible sixth-grade year. His best friend has ditched him, his parents are getting divorced, and now his uncle wants him to spend the summer with him on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere. Of course, Milton doesn’t want to go; he just wants to immerse himself in his explorer video game. But when he arrives on the island and finds there are three other kids living there, he realizes it’s an opportunity to reinvent himself. Slowly he makes friends with Fig, the dark-skinned daughter of one of the island’s research scientists. Rafi is another story, despite the friendliness of his younger brother Gabe, who has bright eyes and a laughing bronze that face pops up everywhere. Milton soon learns that all is not well on the island: the interior is covered in a strange vine, his uncle is distressed, the scientists are worried, and the island is under threat of developers who want to create a resort. When he stumbles across a journal with clues about the island’s hidden treasure, Milton decides to help save the island with Fig. They are launched into a series of fantastical adventures as they follow the clues in the journal. The magical realism of this wild adventure will especially appeal to ecologically minded middle grade readers.
VERDICT A fun summer read perfect for fans of Kate Beasley’s Lions & Liars, and Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s Shouting at the Rain.

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