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One Came Home

Review

One Came Home

Outspoken (and frequently hilariously witty) 13-year-old Georgie has had a wonderful life in Placid, Wisconsin, where she enjoys an especially close relationship with her older sister, Agatha. Until it all goes wrong. It's June 7, 1871, a date Georgie will always remember as her sister's "first funeral." One week earlier, Agatha had run off with a few pigeoners, people following the wild pigeon migration. Georgie wonders if she was to blame for her sister leaving in the first place. After all, Georgie did interfere in Agatha's romantic life, indirectly causing her engagement to be broken off. Then, when a body (mangled by animals into a nearly unidentifiable condition) with red hair, dressed undeniably in the beautiful blue-green gown Ma had made for Agatha is brought home, everyone believes Agatha died --- everyone except Georgie, who cannot and will not believe her vibrant sister is gone.

"Fueled by her love for her sister and her refusal to give up on the hope that Agatha is alive, Georgie uses her sharp wit as she obstinately ignores or overcomes the many daunting obstacles on her pursuit of the truth...Sassy sharp-shootin' Georgie is irresistible, as is her adventure-filled quest."

Georgie insists that her grandfather go find Agatha, but Grandfather Bolte tells her to grow up and be grateful that they have a body at all. So Georgie decides to take matters into her own hands. She will figure out a way to find her sister. She must travel to Dog Hollow, the area in which the body in Agatha's gown was found. Georgie finds a book on how to travel the prairie and starts deciding what she needs to obtain in order to survive her quest --- luckily, she has money, special gold coins she has been saving. She must approach Billy McCabe, the handsome young man also involved in Agatha's choice to leave home, to rent or buy a horse to ride to Dog Hollow.

Billy is bemused by Georgie's plan. At first, he flat out refuses to be any part of it, but when he sees Georgie's gold coins, he seems convinced that she will start her journey whether he helps or not. Georgie leaves a note for her family, and sets out to meet Billy to get her horse, only to be amazed twice: at the animal Billy brings for her and at Billy's plan to join her. Georgie really does not want Billy's company; however, she seems to have no choice in the matter. It is just the first shock in an adventure full of surprises, including spiders, cougars, target shooting, Billy's cooking talents, counterfeiters, mysterious caves, obstinate animals, flying bloomers, unexpected revelations and much more. Fueled by her love for her sister and her refusal to give up on the hope that Agatha is alive, Georgie uses her sharp wit as she obstinately ignores or overcomes the many daunting obstacles on her pursuit of the truth. Her adventure leads to an extremely satisfying conclusion, which is even better for author Amy Timberlake's choice to not tie up every loose end into a tidy and expected package.

Sassy sharp-shootin' Georgie is irresistible, as is her adventure-filled quest. ONE CAME HOME ably blends many genres --- mystery, historical novel, coming of age and adventure tale ---  into one outrageously hard to put down page-turner.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on February 25, 2013

One Came Home
by Amy Timberlake

  • Publication Date: January 8, 2013
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0375869255
  • ISBN-13: 9780375869259