Seven Clues to Home
Seven Clues to Home

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Annotation: An endearing story of love and grief as one girl follows the clues in a scavenger hunt left behind by her best friend, p... more
Catalog Number: #219975
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 208
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 0-593-11961-4 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8446-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-593-11961-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8446-7
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
A year after her best friend’s death, a 13-year-old girl follows the birthday scavenger hunt that he once set for her, hoping to assuage her grief.In chapters that interleave Joy Fonesca’s story now and Lukas Brunetti’s story from one year ago, readers learn the two have been friends since second grade and share August birthdays, quirky humor, insights, and confidences. Just as they each begin to identify and acknowledge romantic feelings toward one another, misfortune complicates everything. Reading from two perspectives and in two different timelines, readers get the benefit of being inside of Lukas’ thoughts while he plants the scavenger-hunt clues and Joy’s musings while she follows them a year later. The story of their friendship and of the subsequent tragedy unfolds along with the scavenger hunt. This is complex storytelling from two experienced writers, with a delivery that feels both seamless and well-paced. The setting of the story, fictional Port Bennington on New York’s Long Island, much like the real-life Port Washington, looks out on a fateful island with a lighthouse called Execution Rocks. Readers will be drawn to the contrast between Joy’s and Lukas’ families and the small moments that change everything. Joy, Lukas, and their families seem to be white.A heartfelt tour de force. (Fiction. 9-12)
Publishers Weekly
Two kids reveal the evolution of their friendship as they each progress through the scavenger hunt that one of them left before his sudden death. In the present, 13-year-old Joy is celebrating her birthday with her close-knit family, having lost her best friend, Lukas, in an accident a year earlier. She wonders if she should finally open the envelope that Lukas left her before he died-undoubtedly the first clue in their traditional birthday scavenger hunt. As she works through the clues and her grief, Joy shares memories of her friendship with Lukas and the depth of her feelings for him. In a narrative from the past, Lukas sets up the scavenger hunt on the day before Joy-s 12th birthday, debating revealing his true feelings for her. Through introspective narration, he also shares anecdotes about his deceased father, troublemaking brother, and his complicated feelings about his mother-s former boyfriend. Lukas-s fast-approaching, untimely death, and the depth of Joy-s grief afterward, add poignancy to many flashbacks as both experience the same set of clues, underscoring the duo-s genuine shared affection. Ages 8-12. Agents: (for Polisner) Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret; (for Baskin) Katelyn Detweiler, Jill Grinberg Literary. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 47 This tearjerker introduces readers to Joy, waking up on her 13th birthday, and Lukas, her best friend since second grade. His accidental death the previous year is the reason Joy is dreading the day. Lukas's tradition of setting up a scavenger hunt for Joy's birthday provides the structure for the story, as Joy decides to open last year's first clue and follow wherever it leads. In alternating chapters, the narrative flashes back to Lukas placing each clue. Readers will cheer Lukas on as he musters up the courage to share his burgeoning romantic feelings with Joy, and they will cheer Joy on as she bravely works through her grief and follows the clues. Both storylines end on a hopeful note, and readers can be reassured that Joy, with the help of her supportive family, will be able to move on. VERDICT This bittersweet exploration of grief and growing up will appeal to thoughtful tweens.Laurie Slagenwhite Walters, Brighton Dist. Lib., MI
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Horn Book
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (6/1/20)
Reading Level: 3.0
Interest Level: 4-7
Lexile: 810L

An endearing story of love and grief as one girl follows the clues in a scavenger hunt left behind by her best friend, perfect for fans of Bridge to Terabithia and Nine, Ten.


Joy Fonseca is dreading her 13th birthday, dreading being reminded again about her best friend Lukas's senseless death on this day, one year ago -- and dreading the fact he may have heard what she accidentally blurted to him the night before. Or maybe she's more worried he didn't hear.

Either way, she's decided: she's going to finally open the first clue to their annual birthday scavenger hunt Lukas left for her the morning he died, hoping the rest of the clues are still out there. If they are, they might lead Joy to whatever last words Lukas wrote, and toward understanding how to grab onto the future that is meant to be hers.

"I truly loved it! Baskin and Polisner seamlessly unfold one touching relationship after another in this gorgeous story about everlasting friendship. This tender tale is indelibly etched on my heart." --Leslie Connor, author of the National Book Award finalist The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
"Polisner and Baskin's brief tale of two quite distant friends magically manages to bridge an uncrossable gap. Seven Clues to Home is both a charming mystery and a real meditation on the complexities of the young heart in love." --Tony Abbott, Edgar Award-winning author of Firegirl and The Great Jeff
"I read this whole book with a lump in my throat. A perfect gem." --Wendy Mass, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Bob

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