cover image Last in a Long Line of Rebels

Last in a Long Line of Rebels

Lisa Lewis Tyre. Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-399-16838-3

Tyre’s accomplished debut takes place in 1999 in the small Southern town of Zollicoffer, Tenn., where 12-year-old Lou Mayhew’s 175-year-old home is her only claim to fame. The daughter of a junkman and a pregnant “enviro-artist” mother, Lou is determined that the summer before seventh grade will be less boring than the previous one. Eavesdropping one day, she learns that her beloved house may soon be razed, and her mission immediately becomes clear. Enlisting her best friends to help save her home, high-spirited, persistent Lou finds a new interest in history—especially her family’s, which holds its own surprises. As the four children try to solve a Civil War mystery and find a cache of purportedly missing gold, they also confront a contemporary case of racism. Strong secondary characters, including Lou’s thrice-divorced flirtatious grandmother, help build the strong sense of small-town community. Tyre masterfully weaves historical details into Lou’s discoveries in ways that never feel facile, while deftly and satisfyingly resolving past and present puzzles. Ages 10–up. Agent: Susan Hawk, Bent Agency. (Sept.)