Quicksand Pond|Janet Taylor Lisle
Quicksand Pond
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An ALA Notable Book
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2017

"Striking, enigmatic, and haunting all around." --Booklist (starred review)
"A suspenseful, realistic, finely crafted story exploring friendship, trust, and how we judge others." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Newbery Honor winner Janet Taylor Lisle's novel about a pivotal summer in two girls' lives explores the convictions we form, the judgments we make, and the values we hold.

The pond is called Quicksand Pond.

It's a shadowy, hidden place, full of chirping, shrieking, croaking life. It's where, legend has it, people disappear. It's where scrappy Terri Carr lives with her no-good family. And it's where twelve-year-old Jessie Kettel is reluctantly spending her summer vacation.

Jessie meets Terri on a raft out in the water, and the two become fast friends. On Quicksand Pond, Jessie and Terri can be lost to the outside world--lost until they want to be found. But a tragedy that occurred many decades ago has had lingering effects on this sleepy town, and especially on Terri Carr. And the more Jessie learns, the more she begins to question her new friendship--and herself.

This item is Non-Returnable


  • ISBN-13: 9781481472227
  • ISBN-10: 1481472224
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publish Date: May 2017
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.7 pounds
  • Page Count: 256
  • Reading Level: Ages 10-13

A young girl confronts injustice to save her friend

Quicksand Pond, hidden off the Rhode Island coast, is a place of lingering mystery and illumination for a pair of 12-year-old girls.

When Jessie Kettel arrives with her family to spend the summer in a rental cottage, she finds an old raft and meets Terri Carr, who tells her about two boys who drowned there and a long-ago murder in a huge house on the edge of the pond. The daughter of those murdered parents survived, and old lady Henrietta Cutting still lives in the house.

Jessie learns that the wrong person was imprisoned for the murders: Terri’s great-great-grandfather. The consequences of this injustice continue to the present, as Terri’s family is still considered “no good.” When Terri is forced to hide from her abusive father in a makeshift camp on the edge of the pond, she and Jessie form a Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn-type friendship. Meanwhile, Henrietta watches the pair through binoculars, struggling to find a way to make her long-ignored voice heard. Gradually, Jessie finds herself becoming “sucked into” Terri’s messy, difficult life, and so she retreats from her friend just when she is needed most. Quicksand is everywhere, it seems.

When Terri is accused of setting fire to the Cutting home, history seems to be repeating itself. Jessie learns some wrenching lessons about discrimination and judgment, and her testimony becomes crucial to her friend’s future.

Newbery Honor winner Janet Taylor Lisle has written a riveting chronicle of a monumental summer, one with no easy answers.


This article was originally published in the June 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.