Lauren Wolk writes fantastic middle-grade fiction that I love as an adult reader, and Echo Mountain lived up to my high expectations. After losing everything during the Depression, Ellie and her family move to Echo Mountain in the wilds of Maine. Ellie loves it; she finds freedom in the woods and nature and thrives on the challenges of survival. Her mother and sister resist it. Ellie's joy in the mountain is short-lived when an accident leaves her father in a coma--an accident that Ellie blamed for. Ellie desperately tries outlandish schemes to wake him, and ultimately takes to the mountain in search of an old woman healer known as "the hag."
Wolk's writing is delicious--she has an amazing talent for evoking nature and setting a scene, and she writes children with such sensitivity. Her characters tend to be wise beyond their years, but she never forgets they are children, and she affords them the naivete and innocence they deserve. I loved listening.
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A young heroine in Depression-era Maine is navigating the rocky terrain of her new life on Echo Mountain.
After the financial crash, Ellie and her family have lost nearly everything–including their home in town. They have started over, carving out a new life in the unforgiving terrain of Echo Mountain. Though her sister Esther, especially, resents everything about the mountain, Ellie has found more freedom, a new strength, and a love of the natural world that now surrounds them. But there is little joy, even for Ellie, as they all struggle with the sorrow and aftermath of an accident that left her father in a coma. An accident for which Ellie has accepted the unearned weight of blame.
Urgent for a cure to bring her father back, Ellie is determined to try anything. Following her heart, and the lead of a scruffy mutt, Ellie will make her way to the top of the mountain, in search of the healing secrets of a woman known only as “the hag.” But the mountain still has many untold stories left to reveal to Ellie, as she finds her way forward among a complex constellation of strong women spanning generations.