cover image Echo Mountain

Echo Mountain

Lauren Wolk. Dutton, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-525-55556-8

A girl realizes her standout gifts as a healer in this exquisitely layered historical novel set in Depression-era Maine. After the financial crash forces a tight-knit family of five to move from town to build a cabin on Echo Mountain, a tree-felling accident puts 12-year-old narrator Ellie’s father into a coma. The family’s struggle to survive intensifies, made worse by fears about whether their beloved father—a tailor turned woodsman who, like Ellie, loves the wild—will ever awaken. Complex family dynamics loom large amid day-to-day matters: Ellie’s mother and sister long for their former life and blame Ellie for her father’s state; Ellie, who discovers a gift for healing, further upsets them by trying to startle her father awake. When a dog leads Ellie to “the hag,” a woman who knows about cures and is herself suffering, the girl lends a hand, resulting in further tensions, this time within the interconnected mountain community. Via strongly sketched cabin-life cadences and memorable, empathic characterizations—including, perhaps most vividly, of the wilderness itself—Newbery Honoree Wolk (Wolf Hollow) builds a powerful, well-paced portrait of interconnectedness, work and learning, and strength in a time of crisis. Ages 10–up. [em](Apr.) [/em]