Seventh grader Nicholas’ life in Michigan seems to be falling apart when his aged, long-absent, and confused grandfather implies that if Nicholas could locate the treasured family heirlooms, he could save the day. A math and violin prodigy, Nicholas feels as alienated as classmates Zeke and Jordan, who also fall under the lure of finding the treasures. In an original twist, the text has musical notation, forte or piano, in small print to emphasize text, and mathematical symbols within the text. These amusing additions put the reader in the mind of the narrator. Nicholas’ brother, who died when he was a baby, is buried under a tree, and Nicholas spends his most lyrical moments communicating with his brother. Losing his family home would mean losing his brother and that is unacceptable to Nicholas. Grappling grandfathers, practical parents, and the angst and longing of three young men are presented in this sophisticated, amusing, and heartfelt novel.
David Howd, Berkeley PL