The Lost Girls by Heather Young

Book Description:

Published: July 26, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In the summer of 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family’s vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys her mother, who spends the rest of her life at the lake house, hoping in vain that her favorite daughter will walk out of the woods. Emily’s two older sisters stay, too, each keeping her own private, decades-long vigil for the lost child.

Sixty years later Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before she dies, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person to whom it might matter: her grandniece, Justine.

For Justine, the lake house offers a chance to escape her manipulative boyfriend and give her daughters the stable home she never had. But it’s not the sanctuary she hoped for. The long Minnesota winter has begun. The house is cold and dilapidated, the frozen lake is silent and forbidding, and her only neighbor is a strange old man who seems to know more than he’s telling about the summer of 1935.

Soon Justine’s troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily’s disappearance, her mother arrives with designs on her inheritance, and the man she left behind launches a dangerous plan to get her back. In a house steeped in the sorrows of the women who came before her, Justine must overcome their tragic legacy if she hopes to save herself and her children.

Review –

Justine is living in a shabby apartment with her two daughters and live in boyfriend,Patrick, who is VERY controlling so when an attorney calls saying that her great-aunt Lucy has left her a house and a stock portfolio of $150,000.00, she packs the basics, picks up the girls from school, and starts the long drive to Minnesota.

In her mind the summer-house on the lake looks the way it did when she was nine years old. It was the only Summer she was there and the only time she met Lucy. When they arrive, it is Winter in Minnesota and the house is drab, falling apart and in desperate need of a full restoration.  The inside is not much better with the rooms heated by radiators fueled by a propane tank only one-third full and a stove in the kitchen so old the oven can not be fixed. Meals have to be made on top of the stove or in the microwave.  Justine’s only comfort is that maybe Patrick won’t be able to find them since she told no one where she was going and she left her cell phone behind.

The only neighbors are brothers who were childhood friends of her grandmother, Lilith and great-aunt Lucy, who now run the Lodge for the Summer people. Abe is a bit slow so doesn’t venture out much so Matthew is the one  the Evans girls sees most and they all consider him “creepy”.

There is a box of composition books full of stories written by Lucy, all dealing with the little sister, Emily, who went missing in the summer of 1935. There is also another composition book with the truth behind Emily’s disappearance, but Justine doesn’t know about it until almost the end of the book.

I won’t tell you what happened to Emily or if Patrick shows up, or about the fire  so you’ll have to read the book to find out. There is so much more to this story than just a missing child!

It is a fantastic book and I couldn’t stop listening,

Five stars *****

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Orbiting Jupiter by Gary Schmidt

Book Description:

Published: October 6, 2015

The two-time Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt delivers the shattering story of Joseph, a father at thirteen, who has never seen his daughter, Jupiter. After spending a harrowing time in a juvenile facility, Joesph, who is now fourteen, is placed with a foster family on a farm in rural Maine. Here Joseph, damaged and withdrawn, meets twelve-year-old Jack, who narrates the account of the troubled, passionate teen who wants to find his baby at any cost. When Joseph has begun to believe he’ll have a future, he is confronted by demons from his past that force a tragic sacrifice.

In this riveting novel, two boys discover the true meaning of family and the sacrifices it requires.

Review –

I won this book through a give-away on GoodReads and it arrived this past Monday. As soon as I opened to the first page I knew I HAD to finished it in one sitting.

Joseph’s mother is dead and his father is abusive and he gets into trouble through no real fault of his own. Just a moment of poor judgement and his life is changed forever. He has gotten a girl pregnant and she died in childbirth and the baby daughter,Jupiter, is given up for adoption.

He is sexually abused in a juvenile prison  and when he gets out he goes to stay with a foster family on a farm in Maine where he learns, among other things to milk cows and finds he really enjoys it.  No matter what any day brings finding Jupiter is always on his mind.

Jack, who is twelve, likes Joseph and feels protective of him and when kids at school bully him or give him trouble on the bus, Jack is there to “have his back”.

I won’t tell you if Joseph finds his daughter or how the book ends but it is a heart wrenching tear jerker and I dare anyone to read this book and NOT shed a tear. (It is a very short book and I HIGHLY recommend it)

It is a story that will stay with me forever.  

Five stars *****

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