THE EINSTEINS OF VISTA POINT
Middle Grade, Christy Ottaviano Books, 2022
After the tragic loss of their sister, Zack and his siblings band together to investigate a Morse Code-inspired mystery in this stunning novel about grief and resilience.
When Zack’s younger sister dies in a tragic accident, his family moves to a small town in the Northwest to try and heal from all the pain. Eleven-year-old Zack blames himself for his sister’s death, and he struggles to find any comfort in his new surroundings. Vista Point is home to many mysterious landmarks: The great domed Tower casts inscrutable shadows, and what is the cryptic message in its ceiling medallion? There are several hidden watering holes and even a secret cave in the woods with messages written on its walls. Zack, at first, feels lost in Vista Point. Until he meets Ann, a girl who lives in the area and shows Zack all the special places to be discovered. But there’s something that seems a bit strange about Ann—and perhaps a secret she is keeping from him.
With emotional depth, an unforgettable setting, and a winning cast of characters, this masterful novel thoughtfully explores the grieving process, and how a season of pain can evolve into a summer of healing.
World: Hachette/Christy Ottaviano Books
"Guterson does a splendid job of conjuring up the ideal setting for a classic summer story…. There are compassionate explorations of grief and loss, but obvious familial affection and gracious communal support keep the tone warm and hopeful. A properly old-fashioned adventure that begs to be read by flashlight under bedcovers."―Booklist
"The fascinating cipher that ties it all together is the highlight of this wholesome, gentle story… An inspirational throwback for families seeking tales with a classic feel."―Kirkus Reviews
"Guterson (the Winterhouse trilogy) sensitively explores Zack’s journey toward self-forgiveness in this contemplative adventure featuring a captivating northwestern U.S. setting, a splash of the paranormal, and a tidy ending."―Publishers Weekly
"Guterson treads carefully, demonstrating how grief can be maneuvered but not entirely left behind—this is a bruised family, even as they heal through shared experiences, conversations, and renewed trust that their loved ones will support their unique ways of mourning. The mystery of a tower, secret messages, ghostly communications, and a cranky old man are all appealing elements that move the story forward . . . readers will be glad to see the Einsteins get some closure, joy, and good karma."―BCCB