Why did I get it: April is National Poetry Month and when I was making a display for verse novels, this book caught my eye. I love the cover and I love the premise.
How I would rate it: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
When Lyza helps her dad clean out her late grandfather’s house, a mysterious surprise brightens the sad task. In Gramps’s dusty attic, Lyza discovers three maps, carefully folded and stacked, bound by a single rubber band. On top, an envelope says “For Lyza ONLY.” What could this possibly be? It takes the help of her two best friends, Malcolm and Carolann, to figure out that the maps reveal three possible spots in their own New Jersey town where Captain Kidd (the Captain Kidd, seventeenth-century pirate) may have buried a treasure. Can three thirteen-year-olds actually conduct a secret treasure hunt? And what will they find?
In a tale inspired by a true story of buried treasure, Jen Bryant weaves an emotional and suspenseful novel in poems, all set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War during a pivotal year in U.S. history.
Review: The title of this book was very apt, the style worked really well, and I can’t say I’m surprised at all to learn that this book has won several awards. It is really awesome and unique, presenting both a very fictional girl’s life as well as giving insight into a historical period that might be unfamiliar to younger readers.
Each poem carried with it a lot of weight and a wide range of emotions to go along with it. Some were funny and some were sad, but all of them were touching. I really came to care about Lyza as well as her friends and family. Her hunt for the treasure chest was a nice addition to the real world problems going on for her in regards to her mother’s abandoning of her family and the deal of several relatives. Not to mention one of her friend’s coping with his brother being shipped off to Vietnam.
While I could easily understand and agree with Lyza’s point of view, I was happy that Lyza learned to see things in different ways and to open up more to the people in her life. I liked that the treasure ultimately will open doors for her family and her friends, but that some questions remain unanswered because Bryant did an excellent job in writing about difficult issues in a way that was believable and hopeful at the same time.
In conclusion, this is a great book and a fast read. I think most readers will appreciate it, but it would definitely work well for younger teens who prefer reading about adventure, treasure, and friendship.