Wandering Moth Pr. Mar. 2024. 196p. Tr $25.99. ISBN 9798218284466.
Gr 4-7–All that 13-year-old August wants to do is enjoy his summer break, game with his best friend Tilly, and perhaps work to fund his NASA space camp dream. Unfortunately, he’s stuck babysitting his hyperactive little brother, River, yet again. On one particularly energetic afternoon, August allows River to go outside alone only to lose track of time and realize several hours later that his brother hasn’t returned. The search for River spans from hours to weeks. Strangely, a glass monolith with a mirrored surface appears in the cornfield behind August’s house the same day his brother disappears. With no information to go on, August’s mind quickly turns to more supernatural theories, like the possibility that River was abducted by aliens. While Tilly pursues practical leads through her neighborhood newspaper, both friends grapple with the uncertainty of River’s fate. A blend of gentle, emotional moments and an overall slow pace make this a great selection for more thoughtful readers, but may frustrate those seeking true science fiction or mystery thrills. Although there is a supernatural twist, it is only explored superficially, placing this story more firmly in the realm of realistic fiction. All characters are coded as white; August is being raised by a grandparent. Both August and Tilly experience economic instability.
VERDICT An enjoyable if mild comfort read with few surprises, this book is recommended as a secondary purchase where books by K.A. Holt or Gary Schmidt are popular.

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