Turn Left at the Cow

304p. Houghton Harcourt. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544029002. LC 2012047542.
Gr 5–8—When 13-year-old Travis set off from his stepfather's home in California to find out the truth about his dad, he never realized that he'd be embarking on a wild treasure hunt. He arrives in Minnesota only to learn that the dad he never knew is a local legend who robbed a bank and was never heard from again. Everyone in town has spent more than a decade trying to discover where the money was hidden, and no sooner has Trav arrived than he is enlisted by neighbors Iz and Kenny to help discover the missing loot. However, things get complicated when he begins to suspect that his grandmother might be in on the cover-up, while others think Travis, himself, is guilty. Along the way, this mystery not only sheds light on Trav's past, but also involves friendships, first loves, and finding a place to belong. Through strong character development, Bullard is able to explore family dynamics in a way that is both relatable and informative. Fans of books like Shelia Turnage's Three Times Lucky (Dial, 2012) are sure to enjoy this suspenseful and heartwarming novel.—Kerry Roeder, Professional Children's School, New York City
Trav goes to rural Minnesota to visit his grandmother and finds more than he bargained for. The father he never got to meet supposedly held up a bank fourteen years ago, and a threatening stranger thinks Trav knows where the money is. Trav's entertaining (if occasionally credulity-stretching) struggle to solve this family mystery plays nicely against the comic turbulence of early adolescence.

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