A Boston Globe / Horn Book Honor winner * Four Starred Reviews * Over Ten Best-of-Year Lists"Powerful.... Johnson writes about the long shadows of the past with such ambition that any reader with a taste for mystery will appreciate the puzzle Candice and Brandon must solve." -- The New York Times Book ReviewA Coretta Scott King Author Honor and Boston Globe / Horn Book Honor winner "Powerful.... Johnson writes about the long shadows of the past with such ambition that any reader with a taste for mystery will appreciate the puzzle Candice and Brandon must solve." -- The New York Times Book ReviewWhen Candice finds a letter in an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina, she isn't sure she should read it. It's addressed to her grandmother, who left the town in shame. But the letter describes a young woman. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding its writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle.So with the help of Brandon, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert's history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter's promise before the answers slip into the past yet again?
- ISBN-13: 9780545946179
- ISBN-10: 0545946174
- Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
- Publish Date: March 2018
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.95 pounds
- Page Count: 352
- Reading Level: Ages 8-12
A summer treasure hunt
Twelve-year-old Candice is spending the summer at her late grandmother’s old cottage in Lambert, South Carolina, while her Atlanta home is being renovated. Her parents’ divorce, while amicable, has left Candice feeling adrift. It can be lonely to resettle in a new town, even temporarily. But then Candice meets Brandon, a shy, self-proclaimed book nerd like herself. While rummaging through the attic, the two unearth an old letter from the city’s mysterious benefactor that contains clues to a treasure hunt. The prize is a substantial sum of money. Candice is eager to solve the mystery, not just to alleviate her boredom but also to vindicate her grandmother—Lambert’s first African-American city manager—who was forced out of her job when she tried to solve this very puzzle. Armed with ingenuity and a love of reading, Candice and Brandon bike throughout town, interviewing longtime residents and combing through the town’s archives.
With a nod to The Westing Game, Varian Johnson has penned a smart mystery that deftly explores the history of racial segregation in the South, modern-day discrimination, friendship, love and bullying. Interspersed throughout the novel are the historical narratives of those at the center of the puzzle. Their unique voices and compelling backstories enrich the plot and provide context for the mystery. Beautifully written, this complex story will captivate an adult audience as well.