A Coretta Scott King Author Honor and Boston Globe / Horn Book Honor winner!
"Powerful.... Johnson writes about the long shadows of the past with such ambition that any reader with a taste for mystery will appreciate the puzzle Candice and Brandon must solve." -- The New York Times Book Review
When Candice finds a letter in an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina, she isn't sure she should read it. It's addressed to her grandmother, who left the town in shame. But the letter describes a young woman. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding its writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle.
So with the help of Brandon, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert's history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter's promise before the answers slip into the past yet again?
Varian Johnson is the author of several novels for children and young adults, including The Parker Inheritance
, for which he won a Coretta Scott King Honor award; The Great Greene Heist
, which was an ALA Notable Children's Book, a Kirkus Reviews
Best Book of 2014, and a Texas Library Association Lone Star List selection; and To Catch a Cheat
, another Jackson Greene adventure and a Kids' Indie Next List pick. He lives with his family near Austin, Texas. You can find him online at varianjohnson.com.
- Candice brought the book to her nose--it somehow still carried that wonderful new-book
smell. She cracked it open, and a piece of paper fell out and floated to the ground.
picked it up, thinking it was just a random sheet that had been used as a bookmark
long ago. Then she saw a small note written on the back of the paper.
the path. Solve the puzzle.
It was her grandmother’s handwriting--swirling
loops in dark blue ink.
Candice unfolded the paper and hesitated. The letter
was addressed to her grandmother
- ! ' it seemed intrusive to read it. She almost placed it back between the pages
of the book.
But she was a reader. Readers read.
Candice read the letter.'