Author of several books, Amy Timberlake presents a middle school book that is part mystery, part coming-of-age, and part historical fiction. One Came Home tells of one girl’s disappearance during the time of the passenger pigeons migration in 1871, and her younger sister refusal to believe the worst even when others do.
One Came Home introduces the reader to Georgie Burkhardt, a young girl with sharpshooter skills and a penchant for speaking her mind. When Georgie tells someone about her sister Agatha, something Georgie wasn’t supposed to see, she starts a chain of events spinning out of control. Agatha runs off with a pack of “pigeoners” (people trailing the passenger pigeon migration).
When the sheriff returns with an unidentifiable body wearing Agatha’s ball gown, everyone assumes the worst – except Georgie. Even as the town buries her, Georgie refuses to believe it is Agatha. With the help of Agatha’s friend, she skips town to track down the clues and unravel the whereabouts of her sister. Her tenacity leads her down a trail she doesn’t expect, and her journey to the discovery of the truth changes her in ways she doesn’t expect.
Written in first-person narrative, the book focuses on the mystery of Georgie’s disappearance and whereabouts. One Came Home was named a Newbery Honor book, an ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book, and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile Novel. Three phrases on the front cover aptly describe the book “A Sister Lost. A Body Found. The Truth Buried.” The book includes an author’s note giving the historical context, a list of sources, and acknowledgements. This book would make an excellent selection for a middle school book club.
Recommended for public and school libraries.
Carol R. Gehringer
—reprinted with permission, Christian Library Journal, 2014.