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A vibrant contemporary mystery with a classic feel about grappling with grief, righting past wrongs, redefining family, and finding yourself.
Twelve-year-old Lark Heron-Finch is steeling herself to spend the summer on Swallowtail Island off the shores of Lake Erie. It's the first time she and her sister will have seen the old house since their mom passed away. The island's always been full of happy memories—and with a step father and his boys and no mom, now everything is different.
When Nadine, a close family friend, tells Lark about a tragic boat accident that happened off the coast many years before, Lark's enthralled with the story. Nadine's working on a book about Dinah Purdy, Swallowtail's oldest resident who had a connection to the crash, and she's sure that the accident was not as it appeared. Impressed by Lark's keen eye, she hires her as her research assistant for the summer.
And then Lark discovers something amazing. Something that could change Dinah's life. Something linked to the crash and to her own family's history with Swallowtail. But there are others on the island who would do anything to keep the truth buried in the watery depths of the past.
A compelling and complex mystery with a classic feel, Wreck at Ada's Reef is a perfect coming-of-age middle grade novel for fans of The Parker Inheritance, Holes, The Westing Game, and anyone looking for a satisfying puzzle that stretches across decades.
About the Author
In a time not long after the fifth extinction event, Edgar Award-nominated author Michael D. Beil came of age on the shores of Pymatuning Lake, where the ducks walk on the fish. (Look it up. Seriously.) He is the author of the Red Blazer Girls series, Summer at Forsaken Lake, Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandits, and Agents of the Glass: A New Recruit. For reasons that can’t be disclosed until September 28, 2041, he now lives somewhere in Portugal with his wife and their two white cats, Bruno and Maisie. He still gets carsick if he has to ride in the back seat for long and feels a little guilty that he doesn’t keep a journal. For more on the author and his books, visit him online at www.michaeldbeil.com.
★ "Beil’s (A New Recruit) tightly plotted story of family intrigue and blackmail has considerable emotional ballast . . . as Lark realizes the depth of her stepfather’s grief and the realities of prejudice."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
★ "Each character, historic and contemporary, sparks with life. Lark’s process and the reveals are perfectly paced. . . . Most heartwarming, Lark develops feelings of loyalty toward her blended family and uncovers a surprising link to their property. Readers will be hooked—more, please!"—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
★ "Michael D. Beil's delightful middle-grade mystery is itself like an old novel: unhurriedly paced, impeccably written and including many orphaned children. . . . While The Swallowtail Legacy abounds with references to literary classics, it favorably evokes a modern counterpart: Jeanne Birdsall's The Penderwicks, with its likewise widowed eggheaded father, sprawl of siblings and pets and salvific summer getaway."—Shelf Awareness, Starred Review
"Lark is like any pre-teen, possessing a relatable attitude, observant, and smart. . . she provides strong imagery through her voice. . . . A coming-of-age story about grief and personal growth set against the additional backdrop of an enjoyable mystery."—School Library Connection
"Fans of mystery will enjoy how Lark goes all out to solve this case. . . . Main characters are well fleshed out, and the author does a wonderful job of bringing this island and its inhabitants to life. . . . An entertaining mystery for fans of Sammy Keyes and Nancy Drew about family, loss, and the importance of friendship."—School Library Journal
"The evolution of Lark’s relationship with her stepfather and siblings is well done, giving the book’s fully realized secondary characters a chance to develop along with the protagonist."—The Horn Book