Heart Stones

McSea. May 2022. 128p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781954277021.
Gr 3-7–It’s March in Cliff Cove, ME, four weeks after the worst storm of the decade. Buildings need to be repaired, people have had to move, and two lobster fisherman are missing. Ten-year-old Gale Hope Henderson and her friend Celia Shen are able to bring a little hope and love to the town, though, after they start finding pinkish-red heart shaped rocks all over town. The stones glow and cause a tingling sensation when you pick them up. They seem to be magical—grumpy people turn nice when they have them. Talents seem to increase in people who touch the stones, and when the rocks move by themselves, they point to signs and clues that the girls decide to follow, despite all the naysayers in their lives. With a little detective work and library research about tides and geology, the friends find out how the rocks appeared, who put them there, and why. Despite the chaos that swept through Cliff Cove with the storm, the town feels very cozy. Gale and her friend hang out at the LaundromArt (a place that is half art studio and half laundromat). They have an ice cream shop and beautiful beaches to explore, and a friendly guy named Sam who busks while playing the guitar and singing. Scenic black-and-white illustrations add a decorative touch to the chapter headings. Readers may relate to Gale’s family life (arguing with her sister and mom, not being understood or believed by family and friends, spending Saturdays with her dad). Her perseverance and curiosity over answers to seemingly inexplicable happenstances may inspire tweens to do the same.
VERDICT Readers who want a mix of love and mystery in a story set in a fishing community will love this cozy read.

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