April 2012 Indie Next List
“Spending the summer away from the city and friends was not what Nicholas had in mind. He and his twin sisters are in for a lot of surprises in their dad's small, lakeside hometown. With a room in a tower, a girl named Charlie who can pitch a mean curve ball, a sailboat named Goblin, it is place full of surprises and adventure. When Nick finds an old movie called The Seaweed Strangler and a love letter to his father, he has to figure out how all the pieces fit together.”
— Margaret Brennan Neville, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT
With their father en route to Africa for Doctors Without Borders, city-kids Nicholas and younger twin sisters Haley and Hetty are off to spend the summer with their Great-Uncle Nick at his house on Forsaken Lake. Despite some initial doubts, Nicholas is right at home in the country: he learns to sail, learns about his father as a boy, and makes fast friends with a local-girl, the tomboy Charlie.
The summer takes a turn toward the mysterious, though, when Nicholas discovers an old movie that his father made as a boy: it tells the story of the local legend, The Seaweed Strangler, but was never finished. Before long Nicholas wants answers both about the legend, and about the movie. Together, he and Charlie work to uncover the truth and discover some long-buried family secrets along the way.
In this lovely middle-grade novel, Michael D. Beil has invoked one of his own favorites, "We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea," as well as other great summer books of years-past.