The Lost Girl

by Anne Ursu

Identical twins Iris and Lark are shocked to discover they won’t be in the... read more

Identical twins Iris and Lark are shocked to discover they won’t be in the same fifth grade classroom. It feels like betrayal when they learn their parents support the split and insist they choose separate after-school activities, too, despite the girls’ protests. As time goes by, Iris grows worried about her sister, who seems to be withdrawing more and more into her mind. She finds unexpected solace at “Treasure Hunters.” Despite the store’s curious, somewhat menacing feel, the owner, Mr. Green, lends Iris a sympathetic ear. Lark, he says, sounds like his sister, Alice, who disappeared years before, although he’s never given up hope of finding her. There is already a hint of magic in this book before the appearance of Mr. Green, from an abundance of crows to things that go missing. Even as that sense of magic—and foreboding—builds, the heart of the story is grounded in the struggles and relationship of the sisters, who are white, and the way girls in general are so often discounted, invisible, used, or ignored. And during a heart-stopping climax, it is many girls working together, refusing to be victimized or discounted, asserting their agency and power, that defeats the danger Mr. Green represents in this memorable, multi-layered tale. (Ages 9–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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