A Boston Globe / Horn Book Honor winner * Four Starred Reviews * Over Ten Best-of-Year Lists
"Powerful.... Johnson writes about the long shadows of the past with such ambition that any reader with a taste for mystery will appreciate the puzzle Candice and Brandon must solve." -- The New York Times Book Review A Coretta Scott King Author Honor and Boston Globe / Horn Book Honor winner!
"Powerful.... Johnson writes about the long shadows of the past with such ambition that any reader with a taste for mystery will appreciate the puzzle Candice and Brandon must solve." -- The New York Times Book Review
When Candice finds a letter in an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina, she isn't sure she should read it. It's addressed to her grandmother, who left the town in shame. But the letter describes a young woman. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding its writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle.
So with the help of Brandon, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert's history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter's promise before the answers slip into the past yet again?
Varian Johnson is the author of several novels for children and young adults, including The Great Greene Heist, which was an ALA Notable Children’s Book, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2014, and a Texas Library Association Lone Star List selection, and To Catch a Cheat, another Jackson Greene adventure and a Kids’ Indie Next List pick. He lives with his family near Austin, Texas. You can find him on the web at www.varianjohnson.com and @varianjohnson.
Read an Excerpt
Candice brought the book to her nose--it somehow still carried that wonderful new-book smell. She cracked it open, and a piece of paper fell out and floated to the ground.
Candice picked it up, thinking it was just a random sheet that had been used as a bookmark long ago. Then she saw a small note written on the back of the paper.
Find the path. Solve the puzzle.
It was her grandmother’s handwriting--swirling loops in dark blue ink.
Candice unfolded the paper and hesitated. The letter was addressed to her grandmother; it seemed intrusive to read it. She almost placed it back between the pages of the book. Almost.
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