Quicksand Pond by Janet Taylor Lisle is an interesting historical mystery, and modern day problems that my middle grade students will enjoy.
Jessie, her father and her siblings Julia and Jonathan are staying at a run down house near Quicksand Pond for six weeks in the summer. The father is an English teacher who doesn’t like to spend money, so he’s fine with the moldy floors and lack of technology. Their mother is staying behind in Pittsburgh to work. Julia finds a group of teens to hang out with, and Jonathan is happy staying close to the house, but Jessie is enthralled with the pond. Once she finds a raft, and meets Terri, a girl from the neighborhood, she spends most of her time outside. Terri has a difficult life; her father is an alcoholic who frequently abuses her. A neighbor, Miss Cutting, meets the girls and tells them they may use the tools in her garage to repair the raft. Miss Cutting’s own past is entwined with Terri’s family; her parents were murdered when she was young, and Terri’s great grandfather was sent to jail for it, although he was most likely not guilty. Terri makes some bad choices, and Jessie is not supposed to spend time with her, especially after there are a series of incidents that make Terri look guilty.
I received an ARC from Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing and Atheneum Books for Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.