Reviews for North of Nowhere


Booklist Reviews 2013 September #2
When Mia's grandfather disappears, she and her mother go to Cornwall to stay with Gran in her tiny seaside town. With no clues to follow and nothing to do, Mia wanders the beach, where she befriends Peter, a boy visiting the town. She also begins a strange correspondence with Dee, a girl who leaves a diary in her father's fishing boat. The threads of the story start to intertwine, then twist themselves into knots, as Mia slowly begins to understand that her grandfather's disappearance is not what it seems. Mia narrates, and Kessler, best known for the Emily Windsnap series, creates a number of sympathetic characters and a vivid sense of place in this unusual novel. The final untangling of the mystery is less involving than the long, slow days of gradually building tension. Yet, by the end, the magical elements of the story seem more believable because they are grounded by so many realistic details. Readers may predict the story's end, but they'll want to read it just the same. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
Mia's grandfather disappears, she starts exchanging notes with a strange girl, and it soon becomes clear to the reader that it all has something to do with time travel. Though the story feels over-explained at first, the intergenerational solution turns out to be fairly complicated. A good choice for readers who enjoy some family drama with their fantasy.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 June #1
Thirteen-year-old Mia tries to solve the mystery of her grandfather's disappearance and make a friend in this time-travel adventure exploring the lasting bonds of family. When Mia's grandfather vanishes without explanation from the remote
seaside town of Porthaven, Mia and her mom rush to Gran's side. Missing her beloved Grandad yet unhappy at spending her term break in a place with neither Internet nor friends, Mia finds a diary aboard a docked fishing vessel and begins a correspondence with Dee, a potential friend. Why are all their plans to meet thwarted? Peter, on vacation with his family, attempts to go to Luffsands, the island where Dee lives, to bring her to the mainland--only to go missing himself as the boat and its odd compass travel back and forth between times 50 years apart. Kessler nicely captures Mia's teen relationship with her mom and the thawing of her cool relationship with Gran. The storm that topples Luffsands' homes into the sea resonates with today's natural-disaster news. However, the time-travel logistics are confusing; the conclusion, although upbeat, is difficult to comprehend; and Mia's attraction to Peter, once readers understand exactly who he is, is unsettling. The story does not measure up to its intriguing title and inviting cover. (Fantasy. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2014 March/April
This adventure story is a page-turner. After Amelia's grandfather disappears, she finds a strange boat on the beach and uncovers a diary in which her writing is answered. She meets a young man and this adventure brings two families together. Strange situations include time travel, dual persons, and a village wiped out over a hundred years ago. There are times when the dialogue, chapters from different times, and the introspection of the various characters can confuse readers. Readers learn that two people who were alive in two different times are one individual in the current time. Complete acceptance of these circumstances is unbelievable. If the reader can suspend reality and enjoys fantasy, this will be a satisfying read. Kay Evey, Teacher-Librarian, Tukwila (Washington) Elementary School [Editor's Note: Available in e-book format.] Additional Selection Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 August #4

In Kessler's (the Emily Windsnap series) seaswept novel, a mysterious disappearance leads 13-year-old Mia to uncover a long-held family secret. When Mia's grandfather suddenly goes missing, she grudgingly gives up time with her friends to accompany her mother to her grandparents' fishing village hometown, so they can help Mia's grandmother. Mia resigns herself to boring, gloomy days in Porthaven with no cell phone or Internet connection. But when she happens upon an abandoned fishing boat--and a secret diary tucked inside--she embarks on a time-bending journey. As days pass, Mia exchanges notes with the diary's owner, a girl named Dee; what Mia doesn't realize is that her notes are traveling back in time 50 years. Kessler uses this device to explore Porthaven's history, while untangling the reasons behind Grandad's disappearance and the magic that sets the events of the story in motion. Despite some murky logic, the plucky fantasy-adventure hums along with genuine contemporary characters at the helm. Ages 9-12. Agent: Catherine Clarke, Felicity Brian Literary Agency. (Aug.)

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

In Kessler's (the Emily Windsnap series) seaswept novel, a mysterious disappearance leads 13-year-old Mia to uncover a long-held family secret. When Mia's grandfather suddenly goes missing, she grudgingly gives up time with her friends to accompany her mother to her grandparents' fishing village hometown, so they can help Mia's grandmother. Mia resigns herself to boring, gloomy days in Porthaven with no cell phone or Internet connection. But when she happens upon an abandoned fishing boat--and a secret diary tucked inside--she embarks on a time-bending journey. As days pass, Mia exchanges notes with the diary's owner, a girl named Dee; what Mia doesn't realize is that her notes are traveling back in time 50 years. Kessler uses this device to explore Porthaven's history, while untangling the reasons behind Grandad's disappearance and the magic that sets the events of the story in motion. Despite some murky logic, the plucky fantasy-adventure hums along with genuine contemporary characters at the helm. Ages 9-12. Agent: Catherine Clarke, Felicity Brian Literary Agency. (Aug.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 October

Gr 5-8--Mia is ready to spend her spring break relaxing at home with friends-until her grandfather abruptly disappears. With no choice but to travel with her mother to the lethargic seaside village of Porthaven to assist in the search, the 13-year-old is understandably upset about her disrupted plans. While walking her grandmother's dog on the beach one morning, she discovers an abandoned boat with a diary in the locker that seems to be written by a girl named "D." Mia is convinced that D sounds just like the friend she longs for, so she writes a note in the diary, and a correspondence ensues. When D fails to meet her at their agreed upon time, Mia and her new friend, Peter, set out to find her, but Mia is ordered home by her mother. Peter promises not to go alone, but then he disappears, and when she and his sister try to find him, they learn that D's island was destroyed 50 years ago during a storm. Kessler's story swells and builds at a fast pace, seemingly out of nowhere-just like a storm at sea often does. Elements of time travel make this complex page-turner tricky to follow at times; the reward comes at the end when all is explained. A thought-provoking adventure.--Lisa Kropp, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

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