"Sam must solve the mystery of who he really is.
"Sam is almost 11 when he discovers a locked box in the attic above his grandfather Mack's room, and a piece of paper that says he was kidnapped. There are lots of other words, but Sam has always had trouble reading. He's desperate to find out who he is, and if his beloved Mack is really his grandfather. At night he's haunted by dreams of a big castle and a terrifying escape on a boat. Who can he trust to help him read the documents that could unravel the mystery? Then he and the new girl, Caroline, are paired up to work on a school project, building a castle in Mack's woodworking shop. Caroline loves to read, and she can help. But she's moving soon, and the two must hurry to discover the truth about Sam.
This psychological mystery explores a child's deepest genetic need for belonging. An engrossing examination of a profound theme in the deft hands of a discerning author. " Kirkus Reviews, "Starred
Exquisitely rendered story of self-discovery. . . . Given the author's expertise at developing sympathetic characters and creating a suspenseful plot, readers will find the complexity of Sam vulnerabilities to be as
intriguing as the unfolding enigma of his past. " Publishers Weekly, "Starred.
About the Author
Patricia Reilly Giff (b. 1935) grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of the popular Polk Street Mystery series, as well as several award-winning novels for middle-grade readers. After graduating from Marymount College, Giff taught reading for twenty years before writing her first novel. Many of her books are ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Books and ALA-YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, including "Lily's Crossing" and "Pictures of Hollis Woods", for which Giff won Newbery Honors. Giff lives in Weston, Connecticut, with her husband.
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, November 19, 2007:
"This intimate story realistically examines friendship, family secrets and the struggles of a learning-disability child trying to make sense fo the world."
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2007:
"An engrossing examination of a profound theme in the deft hands of a discerning author."
Interview, The New York Times: In the Region, February 3, 2008:
"Handling difficult subjects with sensitivity is Mrs. Giff’s specialty. If she has tried to drive home a single point in all her stories, it is that ordinary people are special — and that children, most of all, need to feel that way."