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The Light in the Lake

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  239 ratings  ·  60 reviews
A remarkable debut novel that takes readers on a journey of discovery, magic, science, and hope.

Twelve-year-old Addie should stay away from Maple Lake. After all, her twin brother, Amos, drowned there only a few months ago. But its crisp, clear water runs in Addie’s veins, and the notebook Amos left behind — filled with clues about a mysterious creature that lives in the l
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  239 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Hannah Greendale
Twelve-year-old Addie's twin brother recently drowned in Maple Lake. Shortly before he died, Amos made notes about a mysterious creature living in the water - something large with glittering golden scales. When the opportunity arises to enroll in a summer science program designed to investigate possible pollution in the lake, Addie sees her chance to get back out on the water to finish her brother's work.

This is a sweet portrayal of friendship and a touching story about grief. Addie must learn
Jenn Bishop
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This debut has such a beautiful mix of magic and nature. Addie's lost without her twin brother Amos, who drowned in the very lake where she's working this summer as a young scientist studying new pollution in the lake. Her brother's notebook, in which he captured his studies of a mysterious creature beneath the lake's surface, initially intrigues the skeptical side of Addie. But as she spends more time on the lake, she starts wondering if Amos might have been onto something. This is a poignant t ...more
Shauna Holyoak
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story about a young girl coping with the death of her twin while trying to reconcile her love for the place that took him from her. A powerful story of grief, family, love and hope.
A thoughtful middle grade that deals with grief, family, and making hard decisions. Addie is lost after the tragic death of her twin brother. She joins a young scientist program to investigate the pollution in their beloved local lake; she is also investigating the secret journal left behind by her brother who was trying to prove the existence of a creature (lochness monster style) that lives in the lake. Perfect blend of science and a sense of magic that may exist in the world.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is really well-written - couldn't believe this was her first novel! Sad, but sweet and hopeful. The main character was beautifully developed. This is perfect for the 4-6th grade range, but I enjoyed it as an adult as well. I could see this working really well for something like Battle of the Books. Good story, but a lot of educational pieces about science and the environment. ...more
Ms. Yingling
Sep 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Public library copy
Madison Miller
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
 I was lucky enough to receive this ARC at BookCon, so this book will not be out until September 19th. But keep your eye out for it because this is a book you won't want to miss!


This is a middle grade book and before that fact puts you off this review let me just tell you I was not expecting the level of maturity I got from this book. This book deals with some pretty big adult like themes while seeming to explain it in a way a younger reader would understand and connect with. One of the big the
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A STEM focused middle grade about grief, friendship, and adventure that may make a few tears well, but will ultimately leave you with peace and hope.
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to the author and the publisher for sharing a free copy of this MG book. All opinions are my own.

Addie is twelve years old and it’s almost summer break. Her best friend, who also happens to be her cousin, is hoping Addie will join her in preparing a calf for this year’s 4H Fair. At the same time, Addie’s science teacher also has an idea for Addie’s summer. He is hoping she’ll join him, a visiting professor, her twelve year old son and two college interns in conducting a study of the po
Gulshan B.
Mar 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sb2r
You can't read The Light in the Lake and come away unmoved by Addie and her family and community. This is a very sweet story, dealing with grief from the perspective of a twelve-y/o girl. The content may be a little challenging and difficult to agree with for a reader below Addie's age - or ideally, a year-or-two more.

Life throws a painful curveball at Addie when her twin brother Amos dies in a drowning accident in Maple Lake, and so nearly everyone is surprised when she agrees to go back to the
Kate Waggoner
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-read
@kidlitexchange #partner

Thank you to the publisher @littlebrown and the author @sarahrbaughman for sharing an advance copy of The Light in the Lake with the #kidlitexchange network. The Light in the Lake will be released September 3, 2019. All opinions are my own.

Twelve-year-old Addie is drawn to Maple Lake. She knows she should stay away especially since her twin brother Amos drowned in the lake only four months ago. Addie, though, can't stay away and takes a position as a young scientist at t
Susan Barnes
Mar 22, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: children
The Light in the Lake

The Light in the Lake is a well-written book set around fictitious Maple Lake in Vermont. Sarah Baughman does an excellent job of describing the lake and surrounds using the different seasons and weather to add to the context and mood of the story. The story begins three or four months after Addie’s twin brother, Amos drowns in the lake. Addie is struggling with her grief. Her family and friends rally around her but they are struggling with their own sense of loss.

Addie’s s
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
@kidlitexchange thank you to author @sarahrbraughman and publisher @littlebrown for sharing an advanced review copy of The Light in the Lake with the #kidlitexchange network. All opinions are my own. This book was released on September 3, 2019.

Maple Lake is not what it used to be, but neither is Addie Lago. Ever since losing her brother, Amos, in the lake four months ago, Addie can’t seem to figure out who she is anymore. But then an opportunity to work at the biological station on the lake as a
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Light in the Lake by Sarah R. Baughman is a standalone juvenile fiction novel probably best for 5-6 grade. 

Imagine losing your other half. Twelve-year-old Addie was never exactly told to stay away from Maple Lake but she should want to after her twin brother, Amos, drowned while on it, less than four months ago. But even though a piece of her is missing, the lake calls to her; it's waters are in her blood and she just can't keep away. 

So when an opportunity for her to get back on the lake as
Kirstin (chooselovebooks)
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an arc of The Light in the Lake, in exchange for my honest review, so a huge thank you to the people over at HBG Canada for the read!

This was a really emotionally-gripping middle-grade book about coping with grief and learning to move on after the death of a loved one. Addie has always loved the lake, even after her twin brother drowned there. So, when the opportunity to study pollution in the lake arises, she takes it as a chance to get back to the water and to investigate the
Jess Redman
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful story that will make readers feel, think, and want to change their world. Sensitive and bright 12-year-old Addie lost her energetic and creative twin brother just a few months ago. He drowned in Lake Maple, the place where Addie feels most like herself, a place she still feels connected to in spite of the tragic loss. Addie loves science and she loves her rural town, and when her teacher encourages her to take a Young Scientist position at the lake, Addie accepts. She learns ...more
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks to the Kid Lit Exchange network and Little Brown for the review copy of The Light in the Lake by Sarah R. Baughman. All opinions are my own. This book will be released on September 3, 2019.

Twelve-year-old Addie loves science and her teacher wants her to apply for a Young Scientist position for the summer. If she is accepted, she will spend all summer on Maple Lake helping scientists collect and analyze data. This sounds like a dream come true for Addie, but she hasn’t been to Maple Lake
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Light in the Lake is amazingly thought-provoking, but still simple, and quietly beautiful. It tugs the emotion but also awakens the inquisitive mind to science while acknowledging the value and history of local farmers. Environmental activism shares value alongside working the land and just generally appreciating the inherent beauty of nature. Grief, family ties, lies that we tell when we think our mission is critical, and the balance of lake ecosystems are intertwined to make a mature but n ...more
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea Balfour
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a great youth fiction book. It's about twins that live on a special, beautiful, deep lake in Vermont. They spend so much time there - swimming, boating, fishing, ice fishing, and just watching and listening to the water. The twin brother thinks there's a creature living deep in the lake. Despite being beat friends, the twin sister doesn't ever even consider the possibility worthy of her time. Then it's too late because the brother one day drowns after walking on thin ice.

The parents and tw
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Light in the Lake is a beautiful story of family, friendship and hope. Addie is a sweet, smart and lovable protagonist who is faced with a seemingly impossible task--reconciling science with magic. The challenges she faces during her summer on Maple Lake feel wonderfully small in their detail and nuance, but also important and universal--Baughman handles the heavy topic of Addie's grief with authenticity and tenderness. The setting is richly portrayed and a total adventure for readers who mi ...more
Rebecca Balcárcel
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, kid-lit
Baughman does a beautiful job of portraying Addie, a girl with emotional complexity and intellectual alertness. As Addie recovers from the death of her twin, she finds a previously unknown bravery. This helps her face challenges like making a new friend, taking on a science project, going back to the beloved lake where her twin drowned, and standing up against polluters -- who happen to also be her family members. The title refers to a mystery that Addie never fully explains, but experiences in ...more
Daniel Reinhard
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Light in the Lake captures the wonder and amazement of being a child as it follows Addie on her journey investigating the mystery of a fabled local lake creature. Any fans of Champ in lake Champlain will be able to relate! Also a loving portrayal of family dynamics and the joys and pains of transitioning from childhood into young adulthood. I loved how Addie's growing interest in science is weaved into the plot line. In an era when scientific understanding of the natural world and climate is ...more
This is a wonderful book. Really really sad, (middle grade you are killing me with the sad books!) but lovely. 12 year old Addie’s twin brother drowned in the lake while looking for proof of a mythical creature he believed was in there. Addie and her family are wracked with grief, but Addie, unlike her parents, misses the lake and jumps at the opportunity to work as a junior scientist studying pollution and lake ecosystems all summer long.

Despite the familiar trajectory of many emotional middle
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this story! Characters were so true to life, it barely felt like I was reading a fiction story. I valued the emphasis and theme of protecting the environment. Yet, the message wasn't at all preachy. As the reader, I wrestled with Addie in her love for Maple Lake, but also farmers and the good they bring to the environment. Just so eye-opening and a needed story for today. The setting was described in such magnificent detail that I felt transported to Maple Lake and the surrounding mountain ...more
Karen Hsu
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mgfiction
Middle Grade @ Heart book club pick.

I was reluctant to read this in the middle of the pandemic, because I've been avoiding serious-topic books, due to the natural doom and gloom of being semi-quarantined. But I'm really glad I read it.

The lyrical descriptions along with the mystery of the creature in the lake plus Addie's budding friendship with Tai (who is a breath of fresh air)...I loved it all. It transported me to my own experiences of lake-side living (for a short summer in Maine), a magica
Terry Maguire
Beautifully written mystery narrated by 12-yr-old Addie, whose twin brother Amos recently drowned in nearby Maple Lake. Up until his death, Amos kept a journal about a creature with shining scales that he was spotting in the lake. Addie is determined to join the local Young Scientists club so she can research the cause of algal blooms in the lake while also continuing her brother's quest to discover the creature in the lake. The novel has a strong environmental message and leaves a bit of myster ...more
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
An inspiring story of a young female aspiring scientist who is offered her dream summer program. Family matters and grief make her believe that she may not be able to participate in the program, however, she is able to convince her family that she can. Working not only on her science project at the lake, but also a personal one, she struggles with time management and other things. Her ulterior motives may get her in trouble though...
Madison Young
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book because it showed that even if you're going through a hard situation you can make it the best time ever. In this book Addie loses her brother who drowned in a lake near their house. Addie wants to figure out how he drowned because she knows he could swim well. Before her brother died he took notes about seeing things in the lake, a monster. He told Addie but she never saw anything. After his death she wanted to find this monster, for him. ...more
Aug 04, 2019 rated it liked it
MG novel. After Addie's brother drowns in Maple Lake, her family struggles to move on. Despite her parents' fears, and her own nervousness, she decides to accept a position as a Young Scientist studying the lake - but what are the mysteries in the lake? Will it bring her closer to her brother? And is it safe? ...more
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Sarah R. Baughman is an author whose debut middle grade novel, THE LIGHT IN THE LAKE, is forthcoming from Little, Brown Books For Young Readers in 2019. A former middle and high school English teacher currently working as an educational consultant, Sarah graduated from Grinnell College and the University of Michigan, where she studied English, German, and Education. Sarah is represented by Katie G ...more

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