“What do you do when you lose everything that means anything?
Nine-year old Lemonade Liberty Witt doesn’t know the answer to that question, except what her mom taught her. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But what if those lemons are so big that you forget how?
How do you make lemonade out of having to leave everything you know in San Francisco to move to the small town of Willow Creek, California and live with a grandfather you’ve never even met? In a town that smells like grass and mud and bugs. With tall pines instead of skyscrapers and dirt instead of sidewalks. Not to mention one woolly beast lurking in the woods.
That’s right, Bigfoot.
A ginormous wooden statue of the ugly thing stands right at the center of town like he’s someone real important, like the mayor or something. And the people here actually believe he’s real and hiding somewhere out in the pine filled forests.
How can anyone possibly be expected to make lemonade out those rotten lemons?
Everything is different and Lem just wants to go back home. And then she meets Tobin Sky, the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives, Inc. and sole investigator for the town. He invites her to be his Assistant for the summer and she reluctantly agrees. At least until she can figure out her escape plan.
Together, Lem and Tobin try to capture a shot of the elusive beast on film and end up finding more than they ever could have even imagined.”
Lemons by Melissa Savage provides a surprisingly mature and emotional book with a heart that more than matches up the urban legend the kids are chasing.
Being a book meant for a much younger audience than me, I went into it with low expectations. I thought it would be nothing more than an average adventure book with some nice lesson of letting go at the end of the novel. But I was pleasantly surprised at how mature the novel was considering at the younger target audience. Honestly, there are some really good lessons here about loss and friendship that even adults can empathize with. Lemonade Liberty Witt, or Lem, was a charming protagonist. Savage did a good job of portraying her struggles with her mother’s death, not casting it off to the side until the very end when the novel calls for a lesson. You see her inner struggle as the novel goes on and how it affects her life in Willow Creek. Tobin is more of a comic relief and I was a bit annoyed by him at the beginning of the novel. However, as the book progresses he becomes a more developed character and complements Lemonade well. The supporting characters include the townspeople of Willow Creek. The main supporting character is Grandpa Charlie. He was a very sweet and caring character who often supports Lemonade as she struggles with her loss. The other townspeople were serviceable, but they were not given as much time to develop.
The plot, as I expected, was predictable as it is a book meant for a younger audience than me. Still, it was effective and developed at a nice place. There are some subplots that felt a bit abrupt, in terms of its conclusion. I will commend Savage for making the town of Willow Creek, a character of its own. The world feels fleshed out and takes on its own charm as the book progresses. The emotional moments were well done and felt organic considering Lemonade is an 11-year old girl.
In conclusion, Lemons provides an emotional and surprisingly mature novel for the young audience while also satisfying adults. Its likeable protagonist, solid supporting characters, and charming world allow the novel to stand out among its peers.
Rating: Must Buy (for younger readers or parents)