A while ago I won LOST AND FOUND, Colleen Coble's second Rock Harbor book for kids, from
Lana @ iLoveMy5Kids.com. Having read Coble's adult series set in Rock Harbor, MI, I
was pleased that she (along with Robin Caroll) had tried the pre-teen market. Mysterious disappearances that require use of search and rescue dogs are the kind of action that many young readers like. Despite being only fourteen, Emily O'Reilly is in the thick of the searches as both she and her young dog Sherlock are training to be part of the rescue team. As the story opens, Emily and her friend Olivia are searching for Olivia's parents' wedding photo for a surprise anniversary party.
What they find instead is a captioned baby photo indicating that Olivia was adopted. Clearly Emily is a sleuth-in-making and she's determined to find out why Olivia has never been told about her adoption. With the help of a friend newspaper reporter, the girls begin to learn more about the suspicious lawyer involved in the adoption. Could their investigating have anything to do with
strange happenings in the town?
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. It seemed that the search and rescue team was called out too many times to be realistic. As I read, I just couldn't decide what age group was the targeted readers. Before I read the book, I thought I would give it to my 9 year old granddaughter. In one place, Amazon listed the book as being for 8-11 years, and certainly the lexile level (vocabulary, sentence structure, etc) fits that age group, but then I saw another listing that said the book was for 6th grade and up. I totally understand that discrepancy. The book is an easy read, but the characters, their actions (even the story of the birth mother) are skewed toward an older reader. Here's my problem, I have another granddaughter who is in 7th grade. For her, this book is probably a little simple. She normally likes books that are challenging or just plain silly. Having been a children's librarian, I can tell you that writing for pre-adolescents and and adolescents is challenging. Creating characters and stories that match their interests, entertain them, and expand their understanding is a delicate mix. While an adult book may interest people with an age range or 20 years or more, children's books may fit a range of only a year or two. While I've read literally hundreds of Christian fiction titles over the
last few years, I've only read a few written specifically for kids. I am afraid the kids are probably a more difficult audience to please than we adults. Keep trying authors, but give it your best.
Thanks Lana for hosting the give away. I will be passing this book on to grandchildren. We'll see who likes it best.