Sailing, Shipwrecks, and Sunshine
By Michael D. Beil
Alfred A. Knopf, $16.99, 336 pages
Summer at Forsaken Lake by Michael D. Beil is an enchanting tale that truly takes one back to their childhood and the days when summer was magic. The book has lovely pencil illustrations placed periodically throughout. The writing and story itself reminds this reviewer of The Boxcar Children Mysteries by Gertrude Chandler Warner. The main character and viewpoint is from a boy named Nicholas who is around 14 years old. The story isn’t just about summer and sailing; it’s also about new friendships and solving a mystery that surrounds Nicholas’s dad, and a sailing wreck from the past.
“I found it up in tower room a few weeks ago. I didn’t tell anybody, especially the twins, but there is another secret compartment in the tower room.”
While on the surface this tale seems like an idyllic summer with a touch of mystery, it also touches on hardships like divorce, illness, and storms both literally and metaphorically. This reviewer feels that there is a character for everyone in this book whether it is Nicholas, his younger twin sisters, his friend Charlie, a local girl with a wicked curve ball, or Great-Uncle Nick who owns the house at Forsaken Lake. This is a perfect middle grade novel that both boys and girls would enjoy.
Reviewed By Jina Oravetz