Book Review : The Light in the Lake
The Light in the Lake is a well-written book set around fictitious Maple Lake in Vermont. Sarah Baughman does an excellent job of describing the lake and surrounds using the different seasons and weather to add to the context and mood of the story. The story begins three or four months after Addie’s twin brother, Amos drowns in the lake. Addie is struggling with her grief. Her family and friends rally around her but they are struggling with their own sense of loss.
Addie’s science teacher recognises her aptitude for science and her need for a distraction. He encourages her to apply for the Young Scientist position at the biological station on the shores of Maple Lake. It means attending the station every day during the summer holidays. Her parents are reluctant to let Addie anywhere near the lake but she is determined and is accepted for the position. At the station, Addie meets Tai who is about her age and the son of a biological scientist who works there. They quickly become friends. Addie enjoys spending time with people who aren’t grieving the loss of Amos.
As well as collecting water samples and studying pollution in the lake, Addie and Tai investigate clues that Addie found in Amos’ notebook regarding a large sea monster he believed lived in the depths of Maple Lake.
I enjoyed, The Light in the Lake, however, I have concerns for younger readers. The reader is told Addie and Tai are twelve years old but they often act much older. The themes in the book—grief and loss, water quality, environmental pollution also suggest an older readership. I was also concerned Addie often sensed Amos’ presence as a warm hug which brought her comfort and sometimes, she believed he talked to her. This is unrealistic and harmful if children think this actually happens.
Overall, a well-written, moving story but better suited to young adults.