“My mom always says I can take any lemons that life gives me and make lemonade,” proclaims 10-year-old Lemonade Liberty Witt—“Lem” for short.
But when the red-haired, freckled white girl unexpectedly moves from San Francisco to tiny, wooded Willow Creek, California, after her mother’s death, she encounters a range of surprises—from a grandfather that she never knew before to a local legendary Bigfoot mystery. Soon she teams up with 10-year-old Tobin Sky, Bigfoot detective, a white boy whose father is missing in action in Vietnam. Together they are swept up into investigating Bigfoot sightings and reveling in the simple joys of life. Eventually Lem needs to make serious choices about her future, while Tobin must face unusual trials of his own. Lemonade narrates her experience, and debut author Savage skillfully places key trusted adults in the story to impart wisdom about grief, relationship challenges, and primate anatomy. While a couple of plot points strain credulity and the messaging gets a little heavy-handed toward the end, engaging characters and sensitive use of repetition make this an enjoyable and comforting middle-grade handbook on navigating new experiences and the heartache of losing loved ones early in life.
A joyous celebration of cryptozoology, friendship, family love, and coping with loss. (Historical fiction. 8-12)