Book Review: North of Nowhere

Book Review: North of NowhereNorth of Nowhere by Liz Kessler
Published by Candlewick Press on August 6th 2013
Pages: 272
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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Emily Windsnap series comes a captivating adventure about family, friendship, and the bonds that bridge time.

The sleepy seaside village of Porthaven hides a mystery: Mia’s grandad has vanished, and nobody knows why. When Mia and her mom rush to Porthaven to help her grandmother, Mia imagines long dreary days with no one to talk to except for the old-time fisherman at her grandparents’ pub. But that’s before Mia finds a diary on an empty, docked fishing boat and starts exchanging notes with a local girl named Dee, a girl who seems much like her. Mia is excited about having a new friend, but why do their plans to meet each other never materialize? And why does Dee claim to be stuck at home due to violent storms when Mia sees only sunny skies? Will Mia be able to solve the mystery of where — and when — her grandfather and friend might be before time and tide forever wash away their futures?

North of Nowhere tells the story of Mia, whose grandfather has recently gone missing, leaving her grandmother in quite a state. Mia and her mother travel to Porthaven and Mia is unhappy in the boring town, thinking there will be no one she can relate to. When she is walking one day, she finds an boat and in it, a journal of a girl her age. Every day, Mia writes in the journal and gets a reply from Dee, who she cannot wait to meet. Her father often leaves her at home when traveling inland, but soon she will be coming and Mia feels like the two will be fast friends.

The mystery ensues as Dee never shows up, complaining of stormy weather, when the weather in Porthaven is sunny and clear skies. In the meantime, Mia starts to talk to Peter, a boy who is also visiting Porthaven with his family. One day he disappears, as does the boat Dee’s father uses. With the help of Peter’s sister, Liz, they travel to the island and find the place in the middle of a stormy disaster. Unable to help, they return home and bring the Coast Guard to the island, only to find it in ruins that seems decades old.

Mia cannot fathom why a disaster that happened so long ago was so fresh, until she does some research and realizes that there may be magic in the compass they used to get to the island in the first place. But what does this have to with her grandfather missing and Peter disappearing?

As far as mysteries go, I really enjoyed this one. I started connecting the pieces part way through the story, but still felt so intrigued to continue reading on. I love the way all the pieces fit into the puzzle by the end of the story. The way fantasy played into the plot also gave it an extra level of excitement, especially as Mia started to realize what was really happening. I would recommend this for fans of time travel, adventure and mystery.

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15 responses to “Book Review: North of Nowhere

  1. This book was on my tbr for quite a while. But somehow, I forgot about it when it came out… As always.
    I’m glad I found it here. Now I know whom to follow for a good middle grade rec.:)

  2. Not much of a middle grade reader, but the cover and synopsis sounds outstanding. I’m more so stuck on how gorgeous this cover is. Love the artwork.

  3. I really do have a weakness for well written middle grade books. They can be refreshing and a fun quick read that is entertaining.

    Thanks for so many great ideas, and I have barely scratched the surface of your blog.

  4. The cover and the title alone pull me in. Add to that the mysterious plotline and I am hooked. I can’t wait to read this one.

    Thanks for the review!

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