Friday, April 5, 2013

The Water Castle

The Water Castle
by Megan Frazer Blakemore
Bloomsbury, 2013.  341 pgs.  Science Fiction

     Ephraim Appledore-Smith have moved back to his mother's ancestral home after his father has a stroke and is not responding to treatment. Ephraim thinks he will be the smartest kid in this hick town, but he soon finds out that everyone here is smarter, healthier, and more physically fit than he is, and that there is something mysterious about the water in the town. Heightened local radiation levels, a secret laboratory, the whispered rumor that Ephraim's great-great-grandfather may have discovered the Fountain of Youth, make Ephraim think that if he can solve this mystery and find the "magic" water, his father will be cured. Flashbacks to the time when Orlando Appledore and his assistant first began researching the possibility of immortality, and Robert Peary, Matthew Henson, and Frederick Cook were trying to be first to reach the North Pole provide a rich background and slowly-revealed connections to Ephraim's search for the water and the intertwining of his life and the lives of his new friends Mallory and Will. The Water Castle is a suspenseful, nuanced, even philosophical narrative with sympathetic, fully-formed characters in a memorable story.  Highly recommended for children
from fifth grade on up.

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