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North of Nowhere

North of Nowhere

4.4 5
by Liz Kessler

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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Emily Windsnap series comes a captivating adventure about family, friendship, and the bonds that bridge time.

The sleepy seaside village of Porthaven hides a mystery: Mia’s grandad has vanished, and nobody knows why. When Mia and her mom rush to Porthaven to help her grandmother, Mia imagines


From the New York Times bestselling author of the Emily Windsnap series comes a captivating adventure about family, friendship, and the bonds that bridge time.

The sleepy seaside village of Porthaven hides a mystery: Mia’s grandad has vanished, and nobody knows why. When Mia and her mom rush to Porthaven to help her grandmother, Mia imagines long dreary days with no one to talk to except for the old-time fisherman at her grandparents’ pub. But that’s before Mia finds a diary on an empty, docked fishing boat and starts exchanging notes with a local girl named Dee, a girl who seems much like her. Mia is excited about having a new friend, but why do their plans to meet each other never materialize? And why does Dee claim to be stuck at home due to violent storms when Mia sees only sunny skies? Will Mia be able to solve the mystery of where — and when — her grandfather and friend might be before time and tide forever wash away their futures?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Kessler's (the Emily Windsnap series) seaswept novel, a mysterious disappearance leads 13-year-old Mia to uncover a long-held family secret. When Mia's grandfather suddenly goes missing, she grudgingly gives up time with her friends to accompany her mother to her grandparents' fishing village hometown, so they can help Mia's grandmother. Mia resigns herself to boring, gloomy days in Porthaven with no cell phone or Internet connection. But when she happens upon an abandoned fishing boat—and a secret diary tucked inside—she embarks on a time-bending journey. As days pass, Mia exchanges notes with the diary's owner, a girl named Dee; what Mia doesn't realize is that her notes are traveling back in time 50 years. Kessler uses this device to explore Porthaven's history, while untangling the reasons behind Grandad's disappearance and the magic that sets the events of the story in motion. Despite some murky logic, the plucky fantasy-adventure hums along with genuine contemporary characters at the helm. Ages 9–12. Agent: Catherine Clarke, Felicity Brian Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Miranda McClain
Porthaven was not where Mia was planning to spend her spring break. Other than her grandparents there was absolutely nothing the small coastal town had to offer an eighth grader hoping for any amount of a social life. But when her mom finds out that Mia's grandfather has gone missing she and Mia pack their bags and go help her gran try to make sense of what's happened. While she's there Mia makes a few friends including an elusive girl named Dee who she talks to via a diary, and a boy named Peter and his sister Sal. When Peter also goes missing things get start getting weirder. Sal and Mia attempt to figure out what's going on but the clues lead them to a bizarre and seemingly impossible solution. Readers will be swept along with the current of intrigue and mystery in this captivating tale of courage and adventure. It is a refreshingly unique story about friendship and family that will enthrall readers of all ages. Reviewer: Miranda McClain
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Mia is ready to spend her spring break relaxing at home with friends-until her grandfather abruptly disappears. With no choice but to travel with her mother to the lethargic seaside village of Porthaven to assist in the search, the 13-year-old is understandably upset about her disrupted plans. While walking her grandmother's dog on the beach one morning, she discovers an abandoned boat with a diary in the locker that seems to be written by a girl named "D." Mia is convinced that D sounds just like the friend she longs for, so she writes a note in the diary, and a correspondence ensues. When D fails to meet her at their agreed upon time, Mia and her new friend, Peter, set out to find her, but Mia is ordered home by her mother. Peter promises not to go alone, but then he disappears, and when she and his sister try to find him, they learn that D's island was destroyed 50 years ago during a storm. Kessler's story swells and builds at a fast pace, seemingly out of nowhere-just like a storm at sea often does. Elements of time travel make this complex page-turner tricky to follow at times; the reward comes at the end when all is explained. A thought-provoking adventure.—Lisa Kropp, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Thirteen-year-old Mia tries to solve the mystery of her grandfather's disappearance and make a friend in this time-travel adventure exploring the lasting bonds of family. When Mia's grandfather vanishes without explanation from the remote seaside town of Porthaven, Mia and her mom rush to Gran's side. Missing her beloved Grandad yet unhappy at spending her term break in a place with neither Internet nor friends, Mia finds a diary aboard a docked fishing vessel and begins a correspondence with Dee, a potential friend. Why are all their plans to meet thwarted? Peter, on vacation with his family, attempts to go to Luffsands, the island where Dee lives, to bring her to the mainland--only to go missing himself as the boat and its odd compass travel back and forth between times 50 years apart. Kessler nicely captures Mia's teen relationship with her mom and the thawing of her cool relationship with Gran. The storm that topples Luffsands' homes into the sea resonates with today's natural-disaster news. However, the time-travel logistics are confusing; the conclusion, although upbeat, is difficult to comprehend; and Mia's attraction to Peter, once readers understand exactly who he is, is unsettling. The story does not measure up to its intriguing title and inviting cover. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Liz Kessler is the author of the best-selling Emily Windsnap series, the Philippa Fisher series, the novel A Year Without Autumn, and more recently, the early reader Poppy the Pirate Dog. Liz Kessler lives in Cornwall, England.

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North of Nowhere 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
YoungMensanBookParade More than 1 year ago
North of Nowhere by Liz Kessler is a fascinating and descriptive book. It’s about a girl named Mississippi. Her grandpa is missing, she finds a mysterious diary on a boat and she tries to find the girl who wrote the diary. Meanwhile she meets Peter who also wants to find the girl. The mystery is, where is the person who wrote the diary and how are her and Peter related. I think other kids would enjoy it because you can really get a picture in your head of what’s going on. Normally I can’t, but I can now with this special book. If you enjoyed reading Emily Windsnap, you won’t be disappointed with Liz Kessler’s new book. My favorite part was when they were on the boat and they were trying to find the girl who writes in the diary. This author was very successful with this book. Yea! I rate this book, drum roll please………………5 stars! ***** Hooray for Liz Kessler! Reviewed by Sofia H., age 8, Denver Mensa
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have not read it but I will soon!I expect it to be amazing like the other books by liz kesler!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My best friend just finished reading it and said it was good.im going to buy it!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heard it was good. Never read it,but,want want to
Anonymous More than 1 year ago