This Marvelous Middle Grade Monday I’m going to feature another Vancouver author represented by my agency, The Carolyn Swayze Agency:  Gail Banning whose book OUT ON A LIMB is also set in Vancouver.

Here’s the blurb: Rosie and her family’s financial problems find them living in the most unexpected of places  a treehouse, on the estate of Great-Great-Aunt Lydia. Not that Rosie minds, at first. The treehouse is awesome –  bigger than some apartments, with a great view, and full of fresh air. Plus it’s located in a fancy neighborhood. But after a summer of fun on the treehouse grounds, things get complicated. Rosie’s new school friends all live in mansions; suddenly the treehouse looks pretty pathetic. How can she seriously expect to fit in when her “house doesnt even have running water? One little lie seems to help, at first, but pretty soon Rosie is keeping secrets from her family, bribing her little sister, and lying to her new best friend. As the school year drags on, every day presents a new challenge. When things finally reach the boiling point  thanks to the famous spring rummage sale fundraiser  Rosie learns that lying is not the answer, and that sometimes help comes from the least likely places.

So, the above blurb leaves out what I think it the best part of this book – the mystery surrounding Great Aunt Lydia and the family  feud that led Rosie’s family to end up in the treehouse and not the mansion. The way that Rosie follows the clues she finds about the Aunt who seems not to want to know her, are the most appealing part of her character and I loved how this is something Rosie and her new friend bond over.

I also loved the treehouse. I’m a big fan of “survival” stories, as I’ve mentioned before, and though this is not strictly speaking a survival story, I loved all the details on how they made living in the treehouse work. However, it seemed a little extreme, and I found myself questioning the plausibility of two reasonably sensible parents (they are both PhD students) making their young daughters live through the winter in Vancouver in an unheated, un- insulated home. This made me lose sympathy for them. I think maybe a bit more background about the parents might have made this seem more acceptable.

For what it is, this is a pretty long book, just over 60,000 words with a reading level of 4.6. The way the story was told felt like lower middle grade, so the reading level is fine, for age typical readers, but perhaps a bit long.

For this week I can’t wait to read THE OBSIDIAN BLADE  by Pete Hautman. I really enjoyed his book GODLESS and this one sounds, frankly, amazing: Kicking off a riveting sci-fi trilogy, National Book Award winner Pete Hautman plunges us into a world where time is a tool – and the question is, who will control it? I’m pushing this one up to the top of my list!

For more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday fun check these blogs:

9 thoughts on “MMGM – OUT ON A LIMB

  1. Wow, Gabrielle! I’ve never heard of this book. But what a cool premise. I would have loved a story like this when I was in fourth grade, although 60K does sound too long for that age. I’m intrigued by the mystery and why they have to live in the treehouse instead of the Great-aunt’s mansion.

  2. Sounds like an interesting combination of middle grade drama, mystery, and fantasy (come on, who has fantasized about living in a treehouse! 🙂 Thanks for sharing these interesting book.

  3. I haven’t heard of this one either! As a kid I wanted a treehouse but my neighbor friends’ fort-above-ground (our neighborhood didn’t have large enough trees for treehouses) had to suffice. This sounds like a great story; thanks for sharing about it.

  4. This sounds fun and sweet and pretty original. At least I’ve never read a book about a family having to live in a treehouse (other than Swill Family Robinson). And Obsidian Blade sounds RIGHT up my alley. Thanks for both!

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