Sam is almost 11 when he discovers a locked box in the attic above his grandfather Mack’s room, and a piece of paper that says he was kidnapped. There are lots of other words, but Sam has always had trouble reading. He’s desperate to find out who he is, and if his beloved Mack is really his grandfather. At night he’s haunted by dreams of a big castle and a terrifying escape on a boat. Who can he trust to help him read the documents that could unravel the mystery? Then he and the new girl, Caroline, are paired up to work on a school project, building a castle in Mack’s woodworking shop. Caroline loves to read, and she can help. But she’s moving soon, and the two must hurry to discover the truth about Sam.
★ “This psychological mystery explores a child’s deepest genetic need for belonging. An engrossing examination of a profound theme in the deft hands of a discerning author.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred
★ “Exquisitely rendered story of self-discovery. . . . Given the author’s expertise at developing sympathetic characters and creating a suspenseful plot, readers will find the complexity of Sam’ vulnerabilities to be as intriguing as the unfolding enigma of his past.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred
About the Author
Patricia Reilly Giff is the author of many beloved books for children, including the Newbery Honor books, Lily’s Crossing and Pictures of Hollis Woods. She lives in Trumbull, Connecticut.
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, November 19, 2007: "This intimate story realistically examines friendship, family secrets and the struggles of a learning-disability child trying to make sense fo the world."
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2007: "An engrossing examination of a profound theme in the deft hands of a discerning author."
Interview, The New York Times: In the Region, February 3, 2008: "Handling difficult subjects with sensitivity is Mrs. Giff’s specialty. If she has tried to drive home a single point in all her stories, it is that ordinary people are special — and that children, most of all, need to feel that way."