Turner Buckminster can't find anything good to say about his first six hours in Phippsburg, Maine, where even baseball is a different game. He's about ready to light out for the Territories, where every shirt he wears won't have to be starched white and no one will know him as the new minister's son. But after meeting Lizzie Bright Griffin, a smart and sassy girl who lives on nearby Malaga Island, a poor community founded by former slaves, he doesn't feel quite so miserable. Lizzie shows Turner how to hit a Maine baseball, dig for clams along the shore, and row a boat next to a whale, opening up a whole new world to him, one filled with the mystery and wonder of Maine's rocky coast.
But the two soon discover that the town elders, along with Turner's father, want to force the people of Lizzie's island to leave so that a lucrative tourist trade can be started there. Although Turner is forbidden to step foot on the island, he and Lizzie try to save its people, and get caught up in a spiral of disasters that alter their lives forever.
Gary D. Schmidt has crafted a unique coming-of-age novel based on the true event of an island's destruction in 1912. This novel is a 2005 Newbery Medal Honor Book.
"The removal of the Malaga community really happened, and Schmidt weaves that history into a powerful tale of friendship and coming-of-age, adding a lyrical sense of the coastal landscape. Characters are drawn without reverence in this haunting combination of fact and fiction that has a powerful and tragic climax." (Booklist)
"Although the story is hauntingly sad, there is much humor, too. Schmidt's writing is infused with feeling and rich in imagery. With fully developed, memorable characters and a fascinating, little-known piece of history, this novel will leave a powerful impression on readers." (School Library Journal)
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No holds barred
- J. W.
Great coming of age story, authentic Maine setting