The Light Jar
The Light Jar
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Annotation: Nate and his mother are escaping from his emotionally abusive step-father, Gary, but the run-down and abandoned cottage in the woods that his mother takes them to does not seem like much of a refuge; but when his mother goes off to buy provisions and does not come back Nate is left alone (except for his imaginary friend Sam) and afraid--until a mysterious girl trying to solve the clues of a long-ago treasure hunt turns up.
Catalog Number: #181626
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Special Formats: High Low High Low
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 233 pages
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: 1-338-21630-9
ISBN 13: 978-1-338-21630-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018033252
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
It's quickly apparent to 11-year-old Nate that he and his mother are not taking an impromptu vacation like she said. Perhaps it's her furtive glances or that they left the house before three in the morning. This, he learns, is actually their escape from Gary, his mom's abusive boyfriend. Nate feels nervous in the remote, ramshackle cabin that's to be their hideout, and when his mom goes out for groceries but never returns, his panic awakens his long-forgotten imaginary friend, Sam. Sam helps Nate cope with the situation and questions him about Gary, thus filling the reader in on important backstory. As Nate tries to devise innocuous reasons for his mom's absence, a neighbor girl named Kitty enlists his help solving clues in an old area treasure hunt. Thompson's eerie story is tense and threaded with mystery, and readers will recognize that Nate's fears are legitimate ones born of an unsafe, fractured home. Thompson adeptly draws the story lines into a cohesive whole that rewards readers with a satisfyingly hard-won resolution.
Kirkus Reviews
A nearly-12-year-old British boy waits for the return of his missing mother.Nate's mother wakes him in the night and bundles him into a rental car, saying that they're going on holiday to a cottage where they'd stayed long before. Nate barely remembers the tumbledown place, a gardener's cottage on the outskirts of a large estate, now fallen into ruin, but he's grateful to escape his divorced mother's abusive live-in boyfriend, Gary. But the next afternoon, Nate's mum goes to get groceries and doesn't come back. Nate's only briefly alone—he's soon visited by Sam, his imaginary friend from toddlerhood, and then Kitty, a girl about his age who claims to be the daughter of the estate house's current owner. Kitty brings Nate food and accepts his explanations as to his parents' whereabouts. Meanwhile Sam and Nate have long conversations about the fates of imaginary friends. Told from Nate's point of view, the story is frankly implausible—Nate worries that his mum has returned to Gary but never goes in search of her or does anything to help his own situation, making him feel younger and less resourceful than 12. His relationship with his father is glossed over, and Gary never feels realistically threatening. Nor does the imaginary-friend angle generate much interest. The book adheres to the white default.The sentence-level writing is good, but the plot doesn't hold. (Fiction. 8-12)
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ALA Booklist (12/1/18)
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Kirkus Reviews
Word Count: 55,237
Reading Level: 4.4
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.4 / points: 8.0 / quiz: 500672 / grade: Middle Grades

A story of fear and hope, loneliness and friendship -- full of the heart, engaging characters, and propulsive, page-turning mystery that made The Goldfish Boy so beloved.

Nate and his mother are running away. Fleeing from an emotionally abusive situation, they hide out in an abandoned cottage in the middle of a forest. Though it's old and run-down, at least it's a place of their own.

Then Nate's mother heads off for groceries and doesn't return. Has she run into trouble, or simply abandoned him? He is left alone and afraid, with the dark closing in on him.

But comfort can come from the most unexpected of places: like a strange girl trying to solve the mystery of a treasure hunt, and the reappearance of a friend from his past. Will Nate find the bravery he needs to face down his fears, survive on his own, and ultimately illuminate his future?

The Light Jar is a captivating story of fear and hope, loneliness and friendship, and finding the light within, even in the darkest of times.

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