Twelve-year-old Lou has experienced the wrath of ‘mean girls’. While Lou lives in a 175-year-old house by a junkyard in one part of Zollicoffer, TN, the ‘mean girls’ live in an affluent part of the neighborhood. It’s summer. Many of the kids are going on extravagant vacation trips. At the beginning of the next school year, they will all write about these fabulous trips. What can Lou write about? Nothing. She and her friend, Ben, find an old family Bible in one of Lou’s many hiding places. Having not prayed in quite a while, she offers up a prayer for something exciting to happen. She wants her vacation assignment to sound impressive.
As soon as the prayer was finished, things began to happen. Exciting things? Yes. Good things? No! First, she overhears her parents talking about the city’s plan to overtake their family home. Then, she discovers that one of her ancestors may have stolen gold; he also may have owned slaves. With the help her friends and a beloved teacher, Lou’s determined to get to the bottom of it all.
This children’s book (middle grade; ages 10 – 13) is Tyre’s debut novel. Even though it’s for younger readers, I really had a great time watching Lou interact with her family and her friends. I enjoyed seeing how she would get herself out of the circumstances she managed to get herself into. The writing is not ‘dumbed down’ for kids, but rather informational in nature. I think children will love to find out about Lou’s family history as she uncovers it. The book is historical both in the current day (1999) as well as the historical period (Civil War) that Lou researches. She finds out she has much in common than she would have ever thought with the ancestor she was named for. It’s a superb treasure story with a twist. Rating: 5 out of 5.