cover image The Lifters

The Lifters

Dave Eggers, illus. by Aaron Renier. . Knopf, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5247-6416

After his father is offered a new job, 12-year-old Granite Flowerpetal and his family move into the house built by Granite%E2%80%99s great-great-grandfather in the %E2%80%9Chilly hamlet%E2%80%9D of Carousel. Since its famous carousel factory shut down, the town has seen better days. Neighbors squabble over local ordinances and there%E2%80%99s a general malaise in the air. Still, Granite looks forward to a fresh start at a new school, where he plans to try out his new nickname, Gran%E2%80%94%E2%80%9Ceasily understood, easily spelled.%E2%80%9D His outspoken classmate, Catalina Catalan, however, questions his choice of moniker: %E2%80%9CDon%E2%80%99t you realize Gran sounds like you%E2%80%99re a grandmother?%E2%80%9D Content with just being noticed, Gran considers Catalina a potential friend, and when he sees her open a doorway in a hillside, he joins her in a secret, underground mission. In his latest offering for young readers, Eggers (Her Right Foot) successfully blends the real and the fantastic in unexpected ways as Gran and Catalina face a mysterious, hurricane-like force that thrives from their fellow townspeople%E2%80%99s sadness and fear. Black-and-white drawings by Renier (Spiral-Bound) lend a retro storybook feel to this cozy contemporary novel about lifting spirits and rebuilding community through teamwork and imagination. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. Author%E2%80%99s agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. Illustrator%E2%80%99s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.)