A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that at the heart of this mystery-fantasy are family relationships, and the emotionally fraught family squabbling that leads to separation and misery.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Ellsworth, living with his widowed father, has never met any of his relatives, and his father won't say why. But on his thirteenth birthday he receives an invitation from an elderly cousin, Elizabeth, to return to the ancestral family home, ten houses on a Square. His father, very reluctantly, agrees to let him go.
Ellsworth has seen a picture of the Square, had strange dreams about it, and heard stories of the Treasures hidden there by his ancestor, John Matthew. But the Square, and his relatives who inhabit it, are devastated by fighting and loss, and are barely a family any longer. Of the three original Treasures, only one is left to be discovered, but perhaps the prescient John Matthew made arrangements for more than his descendants' financial well-being.
Is it any good?
Atmospheric, lyrical, and fascinating are all reasonable descriptions of this Edgar Allen Poe Award nominee; so are complex, confusing, too many characters, and too subtle. To really get this book requires turning right back to the beginning and reading it again. A story involving a ghost, mystery, and hidden treasure is bound to be intriguing, and for kids who like this sort of thing, putting together all the pieces of the puzzle adds to the appeal. But some kids will just find it confusing, though the basic plot may be enough to carry them through.
THE LAST TREASURE is full of intriguing plot elements (a ghost, a goldfish, an unfinished book, and lots more) that don't seem to lead to anything. But some of them do, in very subtle ways. Others don't seem to, but this author can be sneaky and devious, so one is unwilling to be certain.