Water Castle

Water Castle

So, let me ask you a question.  What's more powerful?  Magic or science?

Wow!  This is a book!  Five stars.  Ephraim Appledore-Smith, his favored brother Price and his well-read younger sister Brynn are on their way to Maine leaving everything familiar and important behind.  Their mother, a cardiac surgeon, has been left one choice.  Since the day Brynn found her father in his art studio hours in to a stroke, nothing has gotten better. So, they are on their way to a place of magic, a place of restoration and a place of last hope.

School begins for the children and Ephraim frustratingly finds himself struggling to keep up. He also finds himself the instant target of a large, brilliant boy named Will.  The only saving grace of the place is the quiet friendship that begins to grow with a girl named Mallory.

Something is special about this town. His brother, Price, is instantly popular and comfortable and after a short time living in the old family home, The Water Castle, Price is setting record swim times in the local pool.  Brynn is revealing a brilliance she's never owned before.

Something is special about this home.  It hums and glows with a blue light. What is hidden in its secret passageways?  What magic lies in the waters of the town?  What are the stories and feuds of the families in this town and why are they holding this family responsible for what happened generations before?    

Meanwhile, one hundred years earlier, Robert Peary and Wiliam Cook are fighting to reach the North Pole and one hundred years ago in Maine, a scientist named Appledore is deep into searching for the Fountain of Youth ably assisted by a young African American woman named Nora.

This is an amazingly crafted story of journeys both of the emotional kind and of the imagination. Do we need magic to make our deepest dreams come true?  Can we turn to the wonder of science to help us find our way through the things that matter the most to us?  Is there such a thing as a magic elixir that can bestow eternal life and if so, would you drink it?

Lives can soar or they can drift or they can fall sour depending on the choices we make and the things we are willing to hold onto and believe in.  Either find the path or make the path are the words of Robert Peary.  

Each of these children is taking on a deeply felt family crisis.

Brilliantly written.  Superbly crafted.  A master craftswoman has carefully whittled each character and designed each path with its poignant and deeply felt roots in the past and choices for the future.  Chess move after chess move takes us closer and closer and we sense that we are closing in on something huge.  Part mystery, part science adventure, part deep voyage into the intimate corridors to the heart, this is a shining standout offering a first class and impressive reading adventure..  (This would be a perfect read-alike for Rebecca Stead fans.)  WOW!

978-0802728395  344 pages  Ages 10-14 

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