Back to the Bright Before by Katherin Nolte
When a tragic accident causes eleven-year-old Perpetua (Pet) Martin’s family to fall apart, she decides to take matters into her own hands. The Martin family was once a happy, loving family, but one event changed everything. Pet’s father is now unable to provide for the family, her mother, who can no longer stay at home, is constantly exhausted from working as many hours as possible, her brother has stopped speaking—except for the word “cheese,” and Pet feels responsible for it all.
Determined to make things right, Pet sets out with her brother, a horse, and a chicken, in search of a hidden treasure. They face many challenges along the way, including becoming lost in the woods, fending off the brute who is also searching for the treasure, and each sustaining injuries. Through the experience, Pet discovers that they are never alone as they are helped along the way by some very special heavenly helpers.
This was a very enjoyable story, full of adventure, humor, and elements of fantasy and faith. I appreciated the main character’s fierce love for her family. The way she cared for her parents and her brother was so sweet. I also liked her feisty spirit as she refused to feel sorry for herself or become angry at her situation. Instead, Pet was determined to make her family whole once again.
This book for older elementary students is filled with quirky characters and brims with beautiful messages about the importance of family, love, and prayer.
A magical adventure about two brave siblings determined to find a treasure that could save their family.
When eleven-year-old Pet Martin’s dad falls from a ladder on their family farm, it isn’t just his body that crashes to the ground. So does every hope her family had for the future. Money is scarce, and Pet’s mom is bone-tired from waiting tables at the local diner, and even with the extra hours, it’s not enough for a third surgery for Pet’s dad. Her five-year-old brother, Simon, now refuses to say anything except the word “cheese.” Worst of all? The ladder accident was Pet’s fault.
She’s determined to fix things—but how? Good old-fashioned grit…and maybe a little bit of magic.
When a neighbor recites a poem about an ancient coin hidden somewhere on the grounds of the local abbey, Pet forms a plan. With her brother, a borrowed chicken, and a stolen pony, Pet runs away from home. If she can find the coin, Daddy can have his surgery, Momma can stop her constant working, and Simon might speak again. But Pet isn’t the only one who wants the coin…which means searching for it is more dangerous than she ever imagined.
This dazzling debut novel filled with magic, family, and adventure is sure to be an instant classic
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