Kessler, Liz. North of Nowhere
August 6th 2013, Candlewick Press
Mia is not thrilled to be spending her vacation week in her grandparents sleepy coastal town, but her grandfather has gone missing and her grandmother is distraught and trying to run the family pub by herself. While out walking the dog, Mia finds a boat and is drawn to it, opening a box and finding a journal written by someone who signs themselves "D". Lonely and wanting companionship, Mia writes back in the journal and begins a correspondence with D. While this is happening, she meets some local children, including a boy named Peter. Later, it turns out that Peter is missing and his family is looking for him. Liz thinks, for various reasons, that Peter has taken the boat she thinks belongs to D's family and has sailed over to Luffsands, where D's family lives. When she and her friend Sal go over there, they see devastation everywhere and find that D's house has been destroyed, but when the coastal rescue squad takes them back over to help, they find that the entire town is gone. Did they imagine it? Many more twists and turns make Mia realize that there is something magical about the boat and the compass, and some light is shed on family history.
Strengths: Kessler is a fun author, and I just had a student who really enjoyed A Year Without Autumn, so I'll go ahead and put this in the collection.
Weaknesses: This was a bit confusing, and it seemed like the text might have been scrubbed of British turns of phrase. I would have liked it better had they been left in. Somewhat confusing, but then time travel can be.