Elliot Stone’s summer is ruined! Not only will he be away from his best friend Jake, but he’ll have to miss Cassie’s graduation party of the century while he spends an entire month in a Vermont cabin on Lake Bomoseen. After Elliot’s dad shares the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, a month at the lake suddenly doesn’t seem so boring. The situation quickly escalates as Elliot encounters a strange sighting in the lake. But when he meets Marley, the totally cute girl next door, they embark on a mission he hadn’t quite planned on.
Elliot Stone is one unhappy ten-year-old. Soon to start the fifth grade he is going to miss his friend Cassie’s blowout, end of the year graduation party and leave behind his best friend, Jake. Instead, Elliot will spend the month with a bratty younger sister and a toddler just beginning to put words together, not always that comprehensibly. When Elliot walks in, Tommy gets excited and runs to his brother calling his name, “Idiot! Idiot!”
The first day at Bomoseen, Elliot sees a sea monster in the fresh water lake and becomes determined to find it again. Together with Jake, who showed up at the lake with his mother, and Marley, the girl who lives at the Lake year-round, they go on the search for this sea monster only they believe exists. The Lake had seen better days, but now it does not get the number of vacationers it used to. The golf course and pro shop Marley’s dad runs have not made a profit in a while. If he does not make one this summer, the course will be sold and her father out of his job, possibly leaving them without their cabin home.
To make things more complicated, Elliot’s dad is at the lake to see one of his biggest clients. If he cannot help the client, he may also lose his job, making Elliot worried about losing their cabin and maybe their real home, too. The kids have their hands full trying to help their fathers and find the sea monster in Lake Bomoseen. This month at the lake is not going to be the boring month Elliot had envisioned it would be.
I liked Elliot Stone and the Mystery of the Summer Vacation Sea Monster because the characters are easy to like, the conflict seems unattainable for a ten-year-old yet with good ideas the kids can succeed, and the writing is good. It would have been easier if Elliot’s little sister did not get her way all the time with mom. It is easy to see why that girl is such a spoiled brat. I am not a fan of spoiled brats.
The idea of another Loch Ness Monster in a Vermont fresh-water lake is far-fetched, said dad, until he took Elliot and Jake fishing and the creature nearly flips their boat. The author has the kids near-perfect. The boys are two halves to one whole. Jake is sort of a fraidy-cat, Elliot is the braver, more together kid. Elliot is frantically trying to get his camera away from the bratty sister so he can take a photo of the sea monster, which had swum up to the dock where the sister was throwing in fishing bait minnows trying to save the minnows from being eaten by the bigger fish. Jake slips and slides into the water just as the creature swims up. The scene was funny, then aggravating, then funny again, and finally toned down as Jake is rushed to the hospital. It was real rollercoaster writing and I loved it all.
The two boys support each other just as two ten-year-old boy’s best buddies would support each other. When Jake and Elliot meet Marley, Elliot is immediately smitten. He tries to show this to Marley, as any ten-year-old boy would, by trying not to show it. Jake instantly picks up on Elliot’s crush and helps him as every good young friend would—he laughs and makes faces at Elliot behind Marley’s back that only Elliot can see. Elliot and Jake are two believable characters that work very well together. It is easy to see them as best buddies.
Marley fits in not because Elliot likes her and wants her around, though he does, very much. Marley lives at the lake year-round and knows much more than either Elliot or Jake about getting things done there. She is the perfect fit for the boys. Elliot tries to bait Jake’s fishing hook as if he is a pro, but cannot. Marley walks up, first time the kids have seen each other, and skillfully baits a minnow on each hook, deftly handing the poles back to each boy. I could picture the boys’ jaws hitting the ground, drool spilling out around their tongues. Marley takes no pleasure in any of this and the three easily become good friends.
Elliot Stone and the Summer Vacation Sea Monster is a good book for boys, and there are far too few of those these days. This story fits the bill. Middle grade boys will like this story of big fish, and then bigger fish. This is book number three in a series of Elliot Stone books. From the slightly loose ending, I think he and his friends will be back again. If you like this book, which can be read without reading the first two books, go back and read the first two: Elliot Stone and the Mystery of the Alien Mom and Elliot Stone and the Mystery of the Backyard Treasure—probably put there by the alien mom.
Author: LP Chase Illustraor: Carl DiRocco Publisher: Blue Marlin Publications Publication Date: November 2011 Number of Pages: 165 ISBN: 978-0-9792-9117-6