One Came Home

By Amy Timberlake,

Book cover of One Came Home

Book description

A Newbery Honor Book

An ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book

Winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile Novel

“An adventure, a mystery, and a love song to the natural world. . . . Run out and read it. Right now.”—Newbery Medalist Karen Cushman

In the town of Placid,…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked One Came Home as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Because…I love language, and Timberlake spins out one gorgeous sentence after another.

Set in 1871, the story follows Georgie Burkhardt as she tracks her big sister, who’s run away with “pigeoners”, a seedy bunch who follow the migration of passenger pigeons (which once existed in the millions but were hunted to extinction). Georgie’s voice is tough, funny, and wildly original, just like the West itself.

There’s plenty of mystery and suspense, but for me, it’s about the language! Here’s the glorious ending: “I say let all the world be alive and overwhelmingly so. Let the sky be pressed to bursting…

Told from the point of view of thirteen-year-old tomboy Georgie Burkhardt in 1871 Wisconsin, the story begins with the funeral of Georgie’s sister, Agatha—a funeral Georgie calls her sister’s first funeral, which Georgie knows won’t be Agatha’s last, and is the reason Georgie leaves town in search of her sister. Even though mere days earlier, the sheriff rode into town with an unidentifiable body wearing her older sister’s blue-green ball gown, Georgie won’t believe the body belongs to her sister. Thus begins her adventure tracking all of the clues and bits of evidence she can find to prove her sister…

Everything about this book is stellar: the haunting descriptions of passenger pigeon carnage, the distinctive rural Wisconsin setting, the sharp dialogue. And the main character, Georgie, is a marvel. When a mangled corpse wrapped in her runaway sister’s dress is brought home, Georgie is the only one who insists on learning the whole truth—and so, with a rifle and a borrowed mule, she sets out to find it. Georgie is stubborn, unworldly, self-reliant, dangerously honest, and even more dangerously good with that rifle. But it’s the ways she chooses compassion over cruelty that make her a heroine I adore.  

From Jacqueline's list on mysteries to keep you reading all night.

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