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Review: The Swallowtail Legacy: Wreck at Ada’s Reef

Title: The Swallowtail Legacy: Wreck at Ada’s Reef
Author: Michael D. Beil
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery
Page Count: 320
Publisher: Pixel + Ink
Date Published: February 15, 2022
You can find it here: Bookshop.org

I’d love to know who creates the buzz surrounding book releases, because why this amazing middle grade has and will likely fall between the cracks of your literary attention is baffling to me. So, if I could please have your attention: this is one of the best middle grades I’ve read in the last four years. Yep. 

I was incredibly skeptical of two things going in: 1) how can an adult male accurately and sensitively write a story centred around a 12-year-old grieving girl without stereotype and 2) given the large cast of characters there will inevitably be “hollow” characters (that is, ones that easily could be replaced with a lamp). I was wrong, wrong, wrong. 

This middle grade mystery is full of amazingly drawn characters set within a dysfunctional but big hearted family that is trying to piece together their familial dynamics after loss. Lark is a fantastic central character to root for – smart, opinionated, flawed, quick to anger, hurting but trying so hard to heal, to trust, and be courageous – she’s everything I’m looking for in a literary heroine. 

Full of some my very favourite literary components: mystery, a Great Lakes setting in the summer, history, and a dash of treasure/clue hunting. Hopeful, big hearted and highly entertaining, if you love a good middle grade mystery please don’t miss this one. Trust me. 


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