Saturday, May 6, 2017

Kid Konnection: Lemons

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week I'm going to share with you a terrific middle grade about two kids on a beach for Bigfoot.

Summary: The search for Bigfoot gets juicy in this funny and touching story that’s perfect for fans of Kate DiCamillo’s Flora & Ulysses and Katherine Applegate’s Crenshaw!

Lemonade Liberty Witt’s mama always told her: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But Lem can’t possibly make lemonade out of her new life in Willow Creek, California—the Bigfoot Capital of the World—where she’s forced to live with a grandfather she’s never met after her mother passes away.

Then she meets eleven-year-old Tobin Sky, the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives Inc., who is the sole Bigfoot investigator for their small town. After he invites Lem to be his assistant for the summer, they set out on an epic adventure to capture a shot of the elusive beast on film. But along the way, Lem and Tobin end up discovering more than they ever could have imagined. And Lem realizes that maybe she can make lemonade out of her new life after all. -- Crown

I'm sure this has something to do with being a mom, but I love good middle grade stories. So when I first heard about the new novel LEMONS by Melissa Savage, I knew I had to read it. This book sounded like winner in every way... and it was. It's a touching story that's also full of humor and good lessons. All in all, I'd say it might be the best middle grade book of the year!

LEMONS tells the story of Lemonade Liberty Witt (also known as Lem), a young girl who moves to Willow Creek, California, after her mother dies. She not only has to leave behind her home, school, and friends, but she also has to live with her grandfather whom she's never met. Needless to say, Lem isn't very happy.

When she arrives in Willow Creek, she meets Tobin Sky, the eleven year old head of Bigfoot Detectives, Inc. You see... Willow Creek is the Bigfoot Capital of the World, and Tobin is determined to find Big Foot. After a little bit of discussion (not always friendly!), Tobin asks Lem to be his assistant; and together, they spend their summer on a quest to find clues about Big Foot and even get some film of him.

As Lem gets to know both her grandfather and Tobin, she begins to accept her new life in Willow Creek. She also learns some incredibly valuable lessons about family and friendship!

I LOVED LEMONS! Truly, it is one very special book that I can't recommend enough. It's got a little bit of every for young readers including many funny scenes, and parents will love Lem and Tobin and their special friendship. I honestly couldn't put down this book... and that's really saying something for me lately. This book made me laugh and cry, and I have a feeling that LEMONS might become a modern-day classic.

LEMONS is Ms. Savage's debut novel and what a debut it is! The author is a child and family therapist; and not only does she get children, she also can write a heck of a story. The book takes place in 1975 and I definitely think that added to my enjoyment. As a kid who grew up in the 1970s (ahem!), I really enjoyed all of the references to that time period. Ms. Savage definitely brought that time period to life, and I adored that the kids were interacting with each other in a time before technology and video games took over!

In addition, I loved the characters in this book... and I mean loved! Both Lem and Tobin are terrific kids, and I think young readers will definitely relate to them. However, the adults in this story are something special too. At the beginning of the story, Lem is so consumed with the loss of her mother that it broke my heart. I loved that as her friendship grew with Tobin, Lem realized that even though she had been dealt a hand of lemons, she could make lemonade! What a terrific message for kids!

And then there was Tobin. What can I really say about him? He was a unique kid that experienced some bullying, and I think he needed the friendship with Lem as much as she needed it with him. He was a bit unusual and definitely intense about Bigfoot, but as readers will learn, he was also dealing with his fair share of baggage. I absolutely loved how Ms. Savage portrayed their friendship -- the back and forth bickering between the characters was absolutely hilarious.

I do think middle grade readers will also appreciate the Bigfoot storyline. The book is a bit of a mystery and involves some detective work from the main characters. The kids go camping to investigate Bigfoot so there is even a little bit of adventure in the story. Honestly, I think this book has a bit of everything and will appeal to all types of readers... even the reluctant ones.

Overall, LEMONS is a must-read middle grade novel. Seriously, you need to get this book for the kids in your life... and make sure you find time to read it too!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


bermudaonion said...

This sounds fabulous - you've sold me! I would have loved the mystery aspect of this as a kid.

Stacie said...

I think my daughter would love this book. Thanks for the link-up. I messed up and couldn't figure out how to delete links! I don't think I'm completely awake yet!

Ms. Yingling said...

I thought the use of Bigfoot was well done; could have done without YET ANOTHER dead middle grade parent.