I read Gone-Away Lake over and over as a pre-teen, and I vaguely could remember now what it was about -- some kids who find an abandoned village -- but I really didn't recall the particulars. My son found this on my shelves a couple of years ago and fell in love with it too, and he's nearly destroyed my copy with his love. But neither of my daughters wanted to read it on their own.
When we got home from vacation, I decided this would be the next book I'd read out loud to my kids because it's such a good summer story. July and August were frenetic and hectic, so it took me two whole months to read it aloud to them. But we finished it just at the beginning of September, which was perfect timing because the last couple chapters take place at the beginning of September too. And we all loved it so much, I'm going to read the sequel to them next week.
Yes, there's a sequel!!! I was entirely unaware of that fact until a year or so ago when we spotted it at the used bookstore. I haven't read it yet, but I'm excited.
I really didn't remember a ton of this book while I read it, which surprised me. Usually books that I read multiple times as a kid still feel very familiar. And certain scenes did come back to me as I read, but not the book as a whole. However, I realized while reading it that this book is a HUGE part of why I am somewhat obsessed with abandoned places. And why I generally find abandoned buildings beautiful and inspiring, not creepy. I do vividly recall wishing that there was an abandoned house somewhere near where I lived that was sound enough still for me to clean up and take over as my own clubhouse like Portia and Julian get to do in this book. I still wish that. I love old, neglected houses in a "let me rescue it and give it love" sort of way, and I see now that this book certainly fed into that, though I can't tell if it caused that interest.
Anyway, this book is about two cousins, Portia and Julian, who go tramping around in the woods and stumble on an abandoned cluster of summer homes. But they're not entirely abandoned -- two delightful elderly people, brother and sister, still live there. Julian and Portia befriend them, and they have a jolly summer together. I love it.
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: G. It's clean and wholesome. There's a tense chapter where someone gets stuck in quicksand that might be hard on kids under 6.
This is my 5th book read and reviewed for the Old School Kidlit Reading Challenge and my 20th for my second go-round with the Classics Club. (Do I count this book as a classic? Yes, I do! It was written in 1957 and should be read by every child. It's a classic. So there.)