At first, I wasn’t sure I would relate to the characters in this story. But as I kept reading, I got more intrigued and wondered what might happen to Jacob’s eccentric grandparents. This is another book from the short list for the 2016 Silver Birch Fiction Awards from the Ontario Library Association.
Coping with the recent death of his father, twelve-year-old Jacob Mosher is sent to spend the summer with his aging, estranged (and strange!) grandparents in a rural seaside town. Reluctantly, he trades the security of his foster mum and a big city for a blind grandfather, Frank, who dresses like a sea captain and conducts flag-raising ceremonies, and a quirky grandmother, Pearl, who sometimes forgets her dentures.
Jacob has two short months to figure out how to deal with his ailing grandfather, the surging river tides and the family secret that’s haunting his newfound grandparents.
Jacob’s Landing was written by Daphne Greer and published by Nimbus Publishing in 2015.
I haven’t read many middle grade novels where grandparents have such a large role in the story. At first, like Jacob, I wasn’t sure I’d like reading about them because they seemed so quirky and eccentric. But as the story went on and the conflict increased, especially Jacob’s wonderings about how they might cope after he left, I wanted to find out what happened. I really liked Jacob’s friend Ruby, who seemed bold and adventurous, though sometimes she acted a little too quickly before she thought about the possible consequences.
As a writer, I enjoyed the way the author created such distinct characters through the use of details and different personality traits. They really came alive for me through their actions and dialogue.
“I, Jacob Mosher, am sentenced to two months and a day with Captain Crazy and his sidekick, Pearl.”
“I’m still not used to the fact that Frank can’t remember some things—obvious things, like me for example—but then other things, like how fast a ship goes, he remembers right down to the second.”
“My stomach still feels gross at the thought of the doctor yanking the needle through Frank’s flesh yesterday, like he was putting bait on a fish hook.”
“Bad stuff happens, but you can’t let it keep you frozen. You’ve got to do something with it or let go.”
Daphne Greer lives in Newport Landing, Nova Scotia.
Here’s what Daphne says about writing on her website: “The hardest is making it believable and meaningful for them. The best is when that happens.”