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 ReviewA 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 ReviewWhen 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 Parker Inheritance, which won both Coretta Scott King Author Honor and Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor awards, The Great Greene Heist, an ALA Notable Children’s book, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book, and a Texas Library Association Lone Star List selection, and the graphic novel Twins co-created with Shannon Wright, an NPR Best Book. He lives with his family near Austin, Texas. You can visit him on the web at varianjohnson.com and @varianjohnson.
Read an Excerpt
Candice brought the book to her noseit 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 handwritingswirling 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.But she was a reader. Readers read.And so, Candice read the letter.
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