Last in a long line of rebels

Lisa Lewis Tyre

Book - 2015

When the city of Zollicoffer, Tennessee, where her family lives, announces plans to seize their one hundred seventy-five year old house through eminent domain, twelve-year-old Louise Mayhew needs to come up with a way to save it--and her ancestor's Civil War diary linking the house to the Underground Railroad, as well as a hidden treasure, seem to offer her family the best chance of saving their home.

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Subjects
Published
New York, NY : Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) [2015]
Language
English
Physical Description
279 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780399168383
0399168389
Main Author
Lisa Lewis Tyre (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Finding buried treasure, solving an old family mystery, and righting modern wrongs are a few things that push 12-year-old Louise Mayhew's summer from boring to exciting. Upon learning that her family's home is slated for demolition, Louise is determined to save the 175-year-old house by getting it declared historic. With the help of her two best friends and cousin Patty, the kids set out to learn about its Civil War–era history. Louise is surprised to find her great-great-great-grandfather was a Confederate army captain and an alleged thief and murderer. She is devastated to discover that her family once owned slaves, and equally upset that prejudice is still alive in her Tennessee town. Tyre's debut features characters that are believable in their naïveté and sense of invincibility, even if the success of their various efforts is implausible. Louise's account of their summer adventures, with chapters headed by entries from a Civil War diary, should please middle-grade readers looking for a solid story with an intriguing historical connection. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Tyre's accomplished debut takes place in 1999 in the small Southern town of Zollicoffer, Tenn., where 12-year-old Lou Mayhew's 175-year-old home is her only claim to fame. The daughter of a junkman and a pregnant "enviro-artist" mother, Lou is determined that the summer before seventh grade will be less boring than the previous one. Eavesdropping one day, she learns that her beloved house may soon be razed, and her mission immediately becomes clear. Enlisting her best friends to help save her home, high-spirited, persistent Lou finds a new interest in history—especially her family's, which holds its own surprises. As the four children try to solve a Civil War mystery and find a cache of purportedly missing gold, they also confront a contemporary case of racism. Strong secondary characters, including Lou's thrice-divorced flirtatious grandmother, help build the strong sense of small-town community. Tyre masterfully weaves historical details into Lou's discoveries in ways that never feel facile, while deftly and satisfyingly resolving past and present puzzles. Ages 10–up. Agent: Susan Hawk, Bent Agency. (Sept.) [Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 4–7—Lou Mayhew's summer after sixth grade is off to a bad start. While eavesdropping, she learns that her home, which has been in her family for 176 years and is next to her father's junkyard, is slated to be torn down through the process of eminent domain for city offices. Then she learns that Isaac, who works weekends for her father and is the best player on the high school football team, didn't win the scholarship to the University of Tennessee because of the coach's prejudice. Lou and her friends are convinced that there's got to be a way to save the house and get Isaac to UT. They believe the answer lies in a Civil War diary that Lou finds in an old box, along with some purportedly stolen gold. During the war, there was a "lost" shipment and all the clues lead to the ancestor who built her home. The characters are true to life, and the younger children and Isaac grow and mature over the summer. In the midst of solving a Civil War-era mystery, Lou and her friends confront racism in their own time. Lou feels deeply and is single-minded in her pursuit of justice. VERDICT A solid debut novel for middle graders who enjoy a blend of history and mystery.—Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC [Page 93]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

When the county announces that it is taking her house, Lou and her best friend, Benzer, endeavor to save the house by solving a mystery about a cache of Civil War gold stolen by her notorious ancestor. A first novel. Simultaneous eBook. 25,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

When the city of Zollicoffer, Tennessee, where her family lives, announces plans to seize their one hundred seventy-five year old house through eminent domain, twelve-year-old Louise Mayhew needs to come up with a way to save it--and her ancestor's CivilWar diary linking the house to the Underground Railroad, as well as a hidden treasure, seem to offer her family the best chance of saving their home.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

When the county announces that it is taking her house, Lou and her best friend, Benzer, endeavor to save the house by solving a mystery about a cache of Civil War gold stolen by her notorious ancestor.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Debut novelist Lisa Lewis Tyre vibrantly brings a small town and its outspoken characters to life, as she explores race and other community issues from both the Civil War and the present day. Lou might be only twelve, but she’s never been one to take things sitting down. So when her Civil War-era house is about to be condemned, she’s determined to save it—either by getting it deemed a historic landmark or by finding the stash of gold rumored to be hidden nearby during the war. As Lou digs into the past, her eyes are opened when she finds that her ancestors ran the gamut of slave owners, renegades, thieves and abolitionists. Meanwhile, some incidents in her town show her that many Civil War era prejudices still survive and that the past can keep repeating itself if we let it. Digging into her past shows Lou that it’s never too late to fight injustice, and she starts to see the real value of understanding and exploring her roots.