Genre: Coming of Age
Publisher: Lake Union
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Told from the viewpoint of nine-year-old Jasper, The Buried Book is part coming of age and part mystery. It's a historic fiction novel for adults, but I'd say it's suitable for older teens.
Jasper's awoken and urged by his mother to get ready. She quickly packs him up, takes off to her brother's farm in Burtchville, and then leaves him there saying she'll return when she can. Her urgency worries Jasper. When she doesn't return as quickly as he expected, he becomes very concerned.
On his uncle's farm, Jasper is expected to help with the daily chores. He does what he's told, but he still wonders what happened to his mother. He's told to keep his nose out of it, but for Jasper that's impossible. When he stumbles upon his mother's diary, he finds himself questioning her disappearance even more.
The Buried Book is long. It went on a lot longer at times than I expected. There were a few scenes that added to the coming-of-age aspect, but I wondered just how necessary they truly were to the plot, such as the trouble Jasper gets into at school. I could have lived without those sections.
Jasper is a likable character. He's young, but pretty smart for his age. He encounters things no nine year old should have to, and he's too immature to really understand what's happening. I found those situations sad, but they drove the plot.
The mystery wasn't really too hard to solve, in my opinion. Despite that, the one-liner hooks at the start of every chapter and the situations Jasper found himself in kept me hooked. This was an enjoyable read with plenty of suspense.