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TREASURE IN THE LAKE by Jason Pamment Kirkus Star


by Jason Pamment ; illustrated by Jason Pamment

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-06-306518-5
Publisher: HarperAlley

The silences are the best parts of this graphic novel.

A beetle that’s painted a perfectly chosen, dusky shade of purple takes almost an entire page of wordless panels to land on the surface of a lake. Even in scenes with dialogue, the silences between words are beautiful, too. When Iris, who’s 13, asks her friend Sam what he wants to do when he’s older, he says, “You mean like…” and then stares blankly for a full panel before he asks, “What do you mean?” Sam is only 12 and can’t imagine leaving the town of Bugden. The town’s name is perfectly chosen, too. Iris says, later: “Bugden is so small, it feels like everyone’s watching what I do all the time!” But just outside of town is a hidden city—Iris thinks it looks Byzantine—with submerged railroad tracks and an enormous clock made of stained glass. That leads to a mystery: Is the young girl Iris meets there a time traveler or a ghost? It might be best to describe the book as a puzzle, a haunting one. Even on its final page, not everything has been explained. Literal-minded readers might prefer a story with a clear, simple timeline. But many readers will opt to fill the silences with their own thoughts. Characters tend to present White, including Sam, Iris, and the mysterious Lily.

This story is astonishing enough to leave people speechless.

(background notes) (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)