Genre: Historical, Middle-Grade
Publication date: May 2nd, 2017
by Crown Books for Young Readers
What do you do when you lose everything that means anything?
Nine-year old Lemonade Liberty Witt doesn’t know the answer to that question, except what her mom taught her. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But what if those lemons are so big that you forget how?
How do you make lemonade out of having to leave everything you know in San Francisco to move to the small town of Willow Creek, California and live with a grandfather you’ve never even met? In a town that smells like grass and mud and bugs. With tall pines instead of skyscrapers and dirt instead of sidewalks. Not to mention one woolly beast lurking in the woods.
That’s right, Bigfoot.
A ginormous wooden statue of the ugly thing stands right at the center of town like he’s someone real important, like the mayor or something. And the people here actually believe he’s real and hiding somewhere out in the pine filled forests.
How can anyone possibly be expected to make lemonade out those rotten lemons?
Everything is different and Lem just wants to go back home. And then she meets Tobin Sky, the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives, Inc. and sole investigator for the town. He invites her to be his Assistant for the summer and she reluctantly agrees. At least until she can figure out her escape plan.
Together, Lem and Tobin try to capture a shot of the elusive beast on film and end up finding more than they ever could have even imagined.
Lemons is an unaccepted gem of a novel. It sounds all cutesy because on the surface it is about two kids searching for Bigfoot but really it is a novel about grief and family. Lemons is about redefining family, dealing with loss and also friendship (because the best ship is a friendship.)
Here are 5 reasons to read Lemons
1. Bigfoot. Whether or not you believe in Bigfoot, it is an interesting conspiracy theory and I love all the fun Melissa Savage clearly had with it. She has done her research and it shows in her writing.
2. Lem. I LOVE LEM and I love how complex her character is. I love that she isn’t just the ‘odd ball’ or a typical, displaced child trope. Lem manages to ‘fit’ in (and not in a forced way) but that doesn’t mean that her grief will magically disappear
3. Tobin on the other hand is the ‘odd’ one out amongst his peers. BUT, he isn’t a caricature and I love his general enthusiasm for Bigfoot and how serious he takes his job as a Bigfoot detective.
4. The story arc. The book is partly a story about hunting for Bigfoot but also partly a story about Lem & Tobin coming to terms with their grief and pushing each other to be better people through their friendship. That sounds so cheesy and yet it is so true. Lem and Tobin’s friendship in the novel is a great example of why friendships in middle grade novels are the best.
5. FAMILY STORIES. I love all the interactions we get to see b/w people from different generations in this novel. We get to see the history of this town and the history neighbors share. All of this just adds to the atmosphere of the small town and makes it SO easy to fall in love with these peeps.
About the Author
Melissa Savage is a writer and a child and family therapist. Her desire to write purposeful, issue-driven books for young people, coupled with her interest in cryptozoology and the mystery of Bigfoot, inspired her to write Lemons. Melissa lives in Minneapolis. You can follow her on Twitter at @melissadsavage, and visit her at melissadsavage.com.
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