Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
What do you do when you lose everything that means anything?
Nine-year old Lemonade Liberty Witt doesn’t know the answer to that question, except what her mom taught her. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But what if those lemons are so big that you forget how?
How do you make lemonade out of having to leave everything you know in San Francisco to move to the small town of Willow Creek, California and live with a grandfather you’ve never even met? In a town that smells like grass and mud and bugs. With tall pines instead of skyscrapers and dirt instead of sidewalks. Not to mention one woolly beast lurking in the woods.
That’s right, Bigfoot.
A ginormous wooden statue of the ugly thing stands right at the center of town like he’s someone real important, like the mayor or something. And the people here actually believe he’s real and hiding somewhere out in the pine filled forests.
How can anyone possibly be expected to make lemonade out those rotten lemons?
Everything is different and Lem just wants to go back home. And then she meets Tobin Sky, the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives, Inc. and sole investigator for the town. He invites her to be his Assistant for the summer and she reluctantly agrees. At least until she can figure out her escape plan.
Together, Lem and Tobin try to capture a shot of the elusive beast on film and end up finding more than they ever could have even imagined.
There are few authors who can tackle difficult topics with grace and humor, and do so appropriately for a middle-grade audience. Either the character’s tragedy becomes so heavy that it weighs down the book, or the humor takes over and dismisses the character’s pain. It is a fine line for an author to walk, but one that Melissa Savage does well.
Lemonade Liberty Witt is a delightfully feisty young girl struggling under the heavy burden of losing her mother and being uprooted to another part of the state. As she learns to cope with her loss, she is befriended by Tobin Sky, a painfully nerdy boy with an equally heavy burden. The two friends form Bigfoot Detectives Inc. and spend the summer chasing Bigfoot sightings in their small California town, Willow Creek, which is in fact, the Bigfoot capital of the world.
The characters were engaging and the setting wonderfully unique for a MG novel (1970s!). As I said, Savage balances the tragedy and humor masterfully. I spent my time either sniffling or chuckling while reading this book. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Melissa Savage’s future works.