Door in the Lake

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When Joey Finney was 12, he and his family went camping near Smokewater Lake-and Joey vanished. Now, two years later, he has reappeared. But something's stopping him from settling back in to his old life. Joey still looks 12. He feels ...
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The Door in the Lake

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When Joey Finney was 12, he and his family went camping near Smokewater Lake-and Joey vanished. Now, two years later, he has reappeared. But something's stopping him from settling back in to his old life. Joey still looks 12. He feels sick all the time and hears voices in his head. No one believes him when he tells the truth: Joey was abducted by aliens...

"A story that young X-Files fans will snap up." -Kirkus Reviews


( Nutmeg Children's Book Award Master List
( Sequoyah Young Adult Award Master List

After vanishing without a trace one night during a camping trip, twelve-year-old Joey reappears two years later, showing no signs of having aged and carrying memories of a strange light in the sky.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Ann Bouricius
Two years ago, while on a camping trip with his family, twelve-year-old Joey disappeared. Now he has returned. He can't remember what happened to him, he has a persistent runny nose, and, most unsettling of all, he has not aged. Though Joey tries to ease back into his life, he finds he's become a celebrity in his town--the boy who was kidnapped. His best friend, now two years older, has a new group of friends, and Joey has a new baby sister. Then Joey begins having seizures and, along with them, strange bits of visions. Suddenly, finding out what happened to him becomes the most important thing in Joey's life. His quest leads him to two college students who believe he was abducted by aliens. As strange as this seems, Joey comes to believe it is the most likely answer. Finally, he risks his life to find the truth. Butts has written a page turner with some well-developed characters whose decisions cause them to change and grow. We cheer for Joey when he is determined to return to school, and we ache with him when he finds that his friends no longer want to be seen with him. We feel the desperation that drives him to track down a college student slightly reminiscent of a young Fox Mulder. While the ending is a little too pat--Joey is returned to his life at the moment he left it two years ago--The Door in the Lake is a good choice to recommend to readers who are just beginning to read science fiction, or to young people who want books with a psychological aspect. VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
When 12 year old Jocy mysteriously disappeared over two years ago during a family camp-out at the lake, his parents never gave up hope that he would be found someday. As this suspenseful science fiction novel begins, Jocy returns just as mysteriously, looking no older than when he left and having only vague, disturbing snatches of memories of a strange light in the sky over the lake. How Jocy, with the help of two college students interested in the paranormal and his sometimes resentful younger brother, finally manages to solve this mystery, makes for a fast-moving tale that should appeal to readers who relish the idea of alien abduction.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7The last thing 12-year-old Joey remembers is that he got up in the middle of the night and headed to the restrooms just down the path from where his tent was pitched. The next thing he knows he's in the hospital after collapsing in a convenience store, being told by everyone how glad they are to have him back and that he's been gone for over two years. Joey can't tell them where he might have been or why he hasn't grown at all. Then the seizures start and Joey begins to remember what happened to him on that summer night. By chance, he gets an e-mail through one of the electronic bulletin boards for missing children that his mother has been on, and he tracks down a couple of college students who have a theory about what may have happened to himone that his returning memories supportthat he was abducted by aliens. The action and resolution of the story are fairly compressed and taut, and as for the believabilitywho's to say?we're talking alien abduction here, but the details are convincingly written. A few scenes with Joey's old best friend, who is now too cool to talk to him, and his now bigger, younger brother add the right pangs of adolescent angst. But one must question the author's wisdom in allowing her young character to pedal off on his bike to meet someone he's met on-line, purposefully concealing it from his parents. Although this book is a quick and exciting read, be aware that this one element can all too often lead to tragedy in the real world.Carrie Schadle, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
In a story that young X-Files fans will snap up, and which in its basic premise follows that of the movie, The Flight of the Navigator, Joey suddenly disappears from a lakeside camp and reappears just as mysteriously two years later, to find himself with a baby sister, a younger brother who's bigger than he is, and friends who have moved on in their lives. Joey has only vague memories of a great spiral of light, a shadowy presence, and a sound like wind chimes, all of which he keeps to himself, not wanting to be thought crazy. Joey's efforts to recreate a normal life go awry when, first, his version of events gets out, and second, an insistent voice in his head begins urging him to return to the lake. Although the plot is disjointed and contrivance- driven, Joey's feeling of dislocation, and the discomfort others feel in his presence, is credibly presented, and the climactic scene, in which the alien appears to convey Joey back to the time and place from which he vanished, features the requisite glaring lights, odd gravitational effects, and weird atmosphere. Butts (Cheshire Moon, 1996) doesn't try too hard to answer questions or maintain her story's internal logic, but it's rare to find stories for young people about closer encounters that aren't played for laughs. (Fiction. 11-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781886910270
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 159
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Butts is an award-winning journalist and the author of the novel Cheshire Moon. She lives in Barnesville, Georgia.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011



    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    Little Joey returns,legally 14 but,physically 12.As Joey slowly remembers how he "DISSAPEARED"on his familys camping trip he meets a college student Eric Glass and his female roommate

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  • Posted September 30, 2010

    Aliens Abducted

    If you want to read a very good book read the book called the Door in the Lake by Nancy Butts. It's about a boy who is gone for two years. This book is about a boy named Joseph Finney who is missing for two years. His parents do everything that they can to find him. Then one day he wakes up in the hospital. And had an IV in his arm,and he had to go get a cat scan. I believe the title is misleading. I thought that there was a real Door in the Lake but that is not true. I think this book would be a good book to read in a class. It's full of suspense and mystery. Middle school aged children would love it. I know I did!!! I'mgoing to read more Nancy Butts books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2010

    The Dorr in the Lake

    The Door in the Lake
    Bl: 1 2/28/10
    Nancy Butts
    ISBN: 1-886960-27-8

    "The door in the every lake, the door in the lake" is what Joey heard before he went to bed every night. Joey is the main character in this fantasy book The Door in the Lake. Two years earlier Joey was camping in a national forest with his best friends. On a dark, cold night he goes to the bathroom while everyone is asleep. The next morning when everyone wakes up no one can find Joey. Joey was missing for two years before anyone ever found him. Still no one ever happened to Joey that night and Joey himself didn't even know he went missing. He went form 12-14 without even knowing it. I thought this book was really good because it was full of suspense and adventure.

    I suggest this book to people who like suspenseful, action packed books. This books definitely a page-turner because I didn't know what was going to happen next. At some parts my heart was beating faster and faster every page. While reading this book I kept thinking to myself, would he die, is anyone going to find him, and how did he disappear? To know more you will have to read the book The Door in the Lake by Nancy Butts. I promise you won't be disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2007

    I love it!

    The 12 year old Joey is kidnapped for two years, and comes back not looking a day older than when he disappeared. Joey can't remember anything about his kidnapping, and fits in no where going back to school. Ethan and Ariel, two college students, help him discover what happened to him. I loved this book. I'm not usually one for these kinds of books, but I thuroughly enjoyed the book. I would recommend it to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2006

    The Door in the Lake

    The Door in the Lake is a story about a boy named Joey who was kidnapped for two years. Joey is followed by doctors and reporters trying to figure out what are wrong with him. Then some college students named Ethan and Ariel helps him figure out his problem.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2004


    One of the best books I've ever read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2003


    I LOVED this book. The story's plot was entertaining and suspenceful. I didn't want to put it down. I even started reading it while reading another book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2003

    One of the best books I've ever read

    I loved this book!!! I never wanted to put it down after I read the first few pages. Very exciting, it's never boring. I recommended it to every one I know. I think every one should read it!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2009

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