Jack Martel's mother takes him camping at the Seawall Campground on Mount Desert Island, Maine, but when he wakes up in the morning his mother is gone. Jack looks for her around the campground; he takes the Island Explorer bus around the island in search of their rental car; and he walks every inch of Bar Harbor in the hopes of spotting her in one of the shops or restaurants. What he doesn't do is tell anyone that she's missing because it's not likely that she's been in an accident or is hurt. "The likeliest possibility was that she had just gone off--again."
Here are some things I liked about Jennifer Richard Jacobson's novel:
- Jack's ingenuity and stubborn determination as he searches for his mother. (Although the fact that he's only eleven and is on his own is also heartbreaking.)
- The kind and quirky characters he meets along the way. (Especially Big Jack.)
- The Maine setting. (The description of Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island made me want to book a summer trip to Maine!)
- Jack's obsession with elephants. (Every chapter is headed with an elephant fact or quote, which I loved.)
- Jacobson's writing. (Although this 275-page novel is written for children, it doesn't read like a children's book; this is a moving and memorable novel perfect for readers of any age.)
- It fills another category in my Reading New England Challenge!