With all the cold, icy, and rainy Maryland weather this week, The Battle of Junk Mountain was the perfect read. I was transported to the Maine coast with 12-year-old Shayne on her summer vacation. Shayne lives in Maryland and always spends summers on Thomas Cove with her grandmother Bea and her best friend Poppy. Nostalgic for summers past, this vacation is different. Poppy’s free time is limited because she has to work at her father’s grocery store. Bea is not ready to let go of her treasured collectibles as Shayne is organizing and pricing them for sale at a flea market. Then to her surprise, Shayne develops an unlikely friendship with Civil War obsessed Linc, the grandson of Bea’s neighbor Cranky.
The Battle of Junk Mountain is a definitely a page turner. Once I began, it was hard to stop reading. The novel starts with anticipation of a fun-filled summer but as you read each chapter (and by the way, pay close attention to each title), Lauren begins to tackle not only familiar topics like changing friendships but also the serious topic of hoarding. Readers will quickly fall in love with Shayne for she shows both maturity and vulnerability. While she can tackle new situations like banding lobster claws and driving a boat, it is evident that Shayne like Bea is holding on to the past and apprehensive about change. Growing up and letting go is hard, but Shayne learns that change can actually surprise you in a good way.
A sincere thank you to fellow Marylander Lauren Abbey Greenberg for sharing an ARC of her debut middle grade novel The Battle of Junk Mountain with my #bookexcursion group. Look for its release in April 2018.