A summer on Loch Ness might be a dream vacation to some, but to homebody Ada Ru, it’s a nightmare come true.
Ada Ru would much prefer to go to Walt Disney World—or, barring that, to stay at home in Denver with her full life. She tries to ignore her mother’s challenge to “make the best of things” in Scotland but is gradually drawn into the notorious Nessie Race, putting her writer’s instinct to the ultimate test. She befriends Hamish “Hammy” Bean Tibby III, a blind cryptid enthusiast who runs the Nessie Juggernaut newsletter, and Dax Cady, an affably brooding American guitarist. The three kids are determined to be the first to find conclusive evidence of the existence of the elusive Nessie, proving that even a close-knit town like Fort Augustus can hide secrets in its watery depths. Humorously melodramatic, irrepressibly modern Ada Ru perfectly showcases the Old World charm of the Highlands as she comes to love the place and its people. Scots dialect is liberally interspersed throughout, but natural translations render it easily comprehensible. Savage places relationships at the forefront: Family ties, found friendships, and community support give this novel its heart. Darker issues, such as the impact of drug addiction on child-rearing, near-death experiences, and the marginalization of the blind, are tenderly explored alongside the exhilarating fun of the Nessie Race. The cast is white.
Nessie may elude us still, but this friendship-driven quest should not do the same. (Fiction. 8-12)