Author: Suzanne LaFleur
Publication: July 2012
My Summary: Elise and her best friend Franklin have always been friends. They have a blast together and know each other well. But when Elise has to start middle school with scabs all over her legs, and Franklin reveals to everyone that it was because of a game they were playing, she starts to be embarrassed by her friend. Then, she starts to have a hard time with the girl who shares her locker. Elise is bullied by this girl and starts missing the bus so she doesn't have to go to school. In the meantime, Elise turns twelve and receives her annual note on her birthday. Her father, who passed away when she was very young, has left her a legacy in the rooms that he prepared for her before he died. She discovers the treasure room by room and learns a little more about herself as she does so.
My Thoughts: I read this book because I had a student who absolutely raved about it. That made it move to the top of the to-read pile. Let me just start by saying that having lost my father at thirteen, this type of story is much more likely to make me weepy than other people. I was tearing up throughout the book because of the touching ways the adults in the book interacted with this young girl. I was able to feel for Elise throughout the book, and wanted to reach out and help her. I loved the details of the rooms her father left for her. What an incredible treasure it would be to be able to learn from your father even though he is long gone. She finds out so much about both of her deceased parents and learns to love her aunt and uncle even more throughout the process. This is a beautiful story about treasuring life and loving your friends and family. I would recommend this one to kids and adults grade 5 and up.