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Mistik Lake

Written by Martha Brooks

  • 224 Pages
  • 9780888997524
  • 7.000" x 5.130"
  • Reading age to 14
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Family / General (see also headings under Social Situations)
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Love & Romance
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Social Situations / Adolescence


Publication Date May 01, 2007

Canadian Library Association YA Book of the Year

In 1981, sixteen-year-old Sally McLean is in a car full of teenagers when it plunges through the ice to the bottom of Mistik Lake. Sally is the only survivor.

Many years later, Sally's teenaged daughter, Odella, is left wondering whether the accident is to blame for her mother's life as a sad alcoholic who eventually abandons her family and flees to Iceland with another man. When Sally suddenly dies in an accident, Odella, her father and her two younger sisters are almost overwhelmed with grief and confusion, until three people provide help and healing in unexpected ways.

Winner of the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year Award 2007

Short-listed for the McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award 2007

Selected for the NYPL Books for the Teenage List 2008

Selected for the Quill & Quire Books of the Year 2007 List 2007

Selected for the Publishers Weekly Best Books 2007 2007

Selected for the OLA Best Bets - Reading for Young Adults (Fiction) 2007

Selected for the CCBC Choices 2008 2008

Selected for the CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens 2008 2008

Selected for the Booklist Top 10 Romance Fiction for Youth 2008


Martha Brooks
Martha Brooks is an award-winning novelist, playwright and jazz singer whose books have been published in Spain, Italy, Japan, Denmark, England, Germany and Australia, as well as in Canada and the United States. She is a three-time winner of the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year, as well as the Ruth Schwartz Award, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award, the Governor General’s Award, and the Vicky Metcalf Award for her body of work. She lives in Winnipeg.


Star Review

"...beautifully crafted...An exceptional writer, Brooks once again immerses readers in a fully realized fictional world and leaves them potentially wiser for the experience." Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Star Review

"...expands its exceedingly well-told tale of teenage romance with equally absorbing stories of adults who have played the tricky game of love." Horn Book, STARRED REVIEW

Star Review

"Brooks' affecting novel explores the weighty legacy of family secrets and cultural heritage...Readers will connect strongly with the teenager's astonished, powerful feelings of first love and her shocked realization that painful family burdens can also be life-changing gifts." Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Star Review

"Everyone suffers, but the momentum remains steady and, in the end, it is the author's ability to convey the characters' love for one another, as complicated as it often is, that floats to the top." Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Star Review

"Mistik Lake is such a wonderfully absorbing read you want to spend more time with even the minor characters, and the prose is so pure, the dialogue so sharp and funny, you're carried along in perpetual pleasure. Like Barbara Kingsolver and Ursula LeGuin, Martha Brooks makes us emerge from her novels a little more in love with the world, a little more rueful about its follies, a little more hopeful about the possibilities of redemption. It will be astonishing, and deeply wrong, if Mistik Lake doesn't win huge numbers of readers as well as its own swath of prizes and honours." Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW

"...a seductive and emotional five-star novel." Sarah's Stars

"...absolutely perfect summer reading...Mistik Lake is magical, an absorbing, surprising story...An intriguing plot and characters that seem to have walked straight out of real life make this novel immensely readable; Brooks's poetic language and wise understanding of the heart make it superb." Toronto Star

"...elegaic...Brooks doesn't judge the failings of her characters harshly. Rather she lovingly reveals the hidden forces that drive them. This title...demonstrate[s] how we are all shaped by complex motivations that often take us years to understand." City Parent (Toronto)

"A master storyteller, Brooks has spun a heart-warming and thought provoking tale with characters that we care about. Not only will this novel strike a familiar chord with many readers, but it will also linger in their minds long after they finish the book." Winnipeg Free Press

"Brooks captures perfectly the excruciating pain of divorce for children, the ache of older adolescence, the loss of childhood, and the centrality of family love. A must-read on its way to many awards. Highly Recommended." CM Magazine

"Brooks knows the adolescent mind and heart. She also knows the strength and restorative power of family and community. In Mistik Lake, she gives us both - and treats sensitive issues with unblinking forthrightness." Montreal Gazette

"I believe [Mistik Lake] should win every prize in Canada this year; it richly deserves it...A rich, delicious read...Perfect for summer reading..." CBC Radio Children's Panel

"It is the rare young adult novel that so perfectly combines teen sensibilities and edginess and lust and dreams with an elegance of language and an unforgettable sense of place. Mistik Lake is truly a unique gem of a book." Richie's Picks

"Mistik Lake reminds us of what it is that makes Brooks the writer she is. Here, again in luminescent prose, Brooks digs deep into love, death and loss, and here, again, she offers both her protagonist and her readers the resolution and solace possible after great pain." Globe and Mail

"The progression of the plot, as it moves from loss and anger through gradual understanding to an incandescent moment of reconciliation in the very last line, is silky smooth. The various pieces click together at last to make a surprising and deeply satistfying pattern...a wonderfully absorbing read." Quill & Quire

"This is a beautifully written tale of grief, love, and family secrets." Booklist

"Writing stories about finding hope in difficult circumstances is what Martha Brooks does best." Prairie Books NOW

"...a book that many upper junior high/lower senior high readers, particularly girls, will enjoy." Resource Links

"Smooth writing contributes much to a story that will enable readers to care about...coming of age." School Library Journal