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The Light in the Lake

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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 lake’s inky-blue depths — keeps calling her back.

So despite her parents’ fears, Addie accepts a Young Scientist position studying the lake for the summer, promising she’ll stick to her job of measuring water pollution levels under adult supervision. Still, Addie can’t resist the secrets of Maple Lake. She enlists the lead researcher’s son, Tai, to help her investigate Amos’s clues. As they collect evidence, they also learn that Maple Lake is in trouble — and the source of the pollution might be close to home. Addie finds herself caught between the science she has always prized and the magic that brings her closer to her brother, and the choice she makes will change everything.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published September 3, 2019

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About the author

Sarah R. Baughman

2 books45 followers
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 Grimm at Don Congdon Associates. When she's not writing, she's probably reading, running, or getting outdoors with her family.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 70 reviews
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
703 reviews3,279 followers
March 31, 2019
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 to move forward in life without her twin brother and discover how to redefine herself in his absence.

The mystery of what swims deep in the lake is a titillating carrot Baughman dangles to keep readers turning pages, but environmentalism concerning pollution and water conservation takes center stage. Scientific discussion are more advanced and lengthy than one might anticipate from a middle grade novel. And that carrot, sadly, is always just out of reach.

The Light in the Lake is a good fit for science-minded middle-graders who don't mind irresolute conclusions.
People say we look so much alike: fraternal twins with the same leaf-green eyes and bony knees. Same hair, the color of sand and just as wind-whipped and rough.

But what they don't say, because they can't see, is that underneath the eyes and hair and skin and bone, something stronger pulls us close. One side of his heart makes the other side of mine. I'm here because he is, and the other way around. For always. Things that solid aren't supposed to go away.

But sometimes they do.

*Note: Quote taken from an Advanced Reading Copy.
Profile Image for Jenn Bishop.
Author 5 books220 followers
October 15, 2019
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 tale of grief, set in rural Vermont. Baughman's setting is masterful, and her characters--especially Addie's extended family--feel true to life. Highly recommended for fans of Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Erin Teagan.
Profile Image for Shauna Holyoak.
Author 4 books37 followers
April 14, 2019
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.
Profile Image for hannah cottrill.
103 reviews
January 25, 2023
|| 4 ⭐️ ||

I found this random middle grade book at a liquidation store. It was a cover-buy, and I knew nothing about it. It turned out to be wonderful! Whimsical, magical; deep and real in its exploration of grief, family and friendship.

Addie’s twin brother, Amos, recently drowned in the lake they grew up around. Amos left behind a notebook where he’d been gathering evidence of a magical creature he thought he saw in the lake. As a way of processing her grief and staying close to the memory of her brother, she continues his mission. At the same time, she is invited to work with a small team of scientists to figure out what is polluting her beloved lake.

I usually dislike reading about environmental issues in fiction, but I have to say the tension from the issue at hand was approached in a way that made sense and didn’t treat either side (the cleanliness of the lake or the importance of the farm) like it didn’t matter in the great scheme of things. It wasn’t just “the farmers are polluting the lake! They’re destroying nature and have got to go!” (I see that mentality a lot.) Rather, various factors of both sides were considered, which was great and refreshing to see. Environmental issues are indeed complex, and this book acknowledged that.

Really enjoyed this middle-grade, and it should definitely be more popular than it is.
Profile Image for Lizzy McGovern.
211 reviews6 followers
January 24, 2020
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.
33 reviews
June 17, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Madison Miller.
2 reviews1 follower
June 5, 2019
 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 themes of this book is death and how to deal with it, and I think the author did an outstanding job with the portrayal of that journey. I have never lost someone so close to me, but I feel like the things the main character in this book went through would be an accurate representation of the stages of grief. Another big theme in this book is nature. I think any younger reader reading this will get a chance to experience some of the environmental changes we are dealing with in reality through this book's main characters experiences. Being that this book is so closely tied to nature it is also closely tied with science and I feel like this book would be an amazing way to get kids interested in science. This book also does a great job of showing that it is okay to keep your imagination and fantasies while also looking at facts and truths of the world. Sometimes people assume that if you are a science oriented person that you don't necessarily engage in the whimsical tendencies of the mind, this book has a perfect balance between the two. It connects just enough of the fantasy and science to make it interesting! I will warn you though, this book made me so emotional! I was crying every other chapter but that made me feel even more connected to the characters. Not only did I feel connected to the characters but the author did such a great job of connecting the characters to each other by creating an intense family dynamic. This is such a good read that every parent should recognize as important for their child to read and understand just because of the level of maturity and depth of the messages in the book. I feel like it is a great educational book as well. The character development in this book is phenomenal, you read as the main character struggles through a hard time in her life with many emotions and to see where she ends up is very emotional and satisfying. No, I really wasn't joking about the emotional aspects earlier! This book does follow the classic "Before" and "After" timeline so that it makes it easy to follow along in the story of events. On a more superficial level the chapters are extremely short so it is sure to keep any age group easily entertained and moving along through the book, not just the recommended ages of 8-12. For my older readers, don't let the fact that this book is classified as "middle grade" scare you off. I don't usually read this kind of book and I enjoyed it a lot! And it didn't hurt that the writing style is beautiful to go along with the beauty of the story and characters.
Profile Image for Sami.
409 reviews27 followers
March 5, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Susan.
500 reviews2 followers
July 27, 2019
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 possible causes of the pollution in her beloved Maple Lake. But Addie can’t really make any decision about her summer, because her twin brother, the brother who shared her room and always understood her, is gone. He drowned a few short months earlier when he fell through thin ice on Maple Lake. And Addie is certain the reason Amos was out there, was because she wouldn’t accept his theory that a creature actually lives deep in Maple Lake without scientific evidence. And he was searching for that evidence. So she knows his death is her fault.

I like this book for many reasons.
Great STEM connections including eye opening reasons for water pollution
The love, care and support that is shown to Addie by her aunt, uncle and cousin and her science teacher
The friendship and support for one another that grew between Addie and her new friend, Tai, as they conducted their research
The openness of both Addie and Tai to learn about one another’s cultures and lives.
The sense of place. You truly feel the peace and beauty of a New Hampshire lake

This is a sad story, but one that is also full of hope for the future. It shows us that with time and support from loving friends and family it is possible to begin to heal; to begin to understand, though the grief and emptiness will remain, life can still be quite amazing.

This book will be released September 3. I recommend you request it from your library or preorder it now!
Profile Image for L M.
24 reviews3 followers
June 26, 2019
I adored this book. The story is sweet with a tinge of sadness, showing that there is always something good to find even in the darkest of times. I cannot believe this is the author’s first book- it is written incredibly well. Super impressed and honored to read an advanced reader’s copy! Check it out for yourselves!
Profile Image for Gulshan B..
237 reviews10 followers
March 18, 2021
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 Lake for a summer internship as a Young Scientist, studying what may be signs of pollution. No one wants to believe the Lake may be polluted, and even Addie finds it hard to believe - at first. However, with a little help from a visiting boy, Tai - and Amos, she takes it upon herself to figure out not just what's wrong, but what can be done to make it right.

What starts out as a family in grief, soon transforms into a coming-of-age story, told far away from electronic black screens, in the fabled outdoors, where the sun and moon and stars drive not just day-and-night but also environment and education and everything in between. The handling of Addie's reactions, her trying to come to grips with losing her twin brother are written with utmost sensitivity, and uncommon genuineness. While there may be a mildly surprising lack of bad intentions and evil characters in the story, the book more than makes up for that in charm and vulnerability - in nearly everyone. Add a refreshing dose of disarming honesty - and you get a yarn that you simply cannot not-like!

I found myself wistfully thinking back to my childhood. I've had a near-drowning experience, and reading this made me reflect back to what could have been, and what was, and what remained. Hopefully, not many readers will have had similar experiences, and yet will find the story rewarding in its portrayal of a child who is struggling to not just survive but transcend whatever life throws their way. Nothing she will ever do can bring Amos back - but Addie soon realizes there are somethings she can do to honor his memory, and celebrate his life. She sets out to continue what Amos had started, even if it means breaking some rules, and making some new friends along the way.

She makes genuine mistakes, and is not perfect by any means. That's what makes this story even more relatable - she makes mistakes that you'd expect anyone to do, in all earnestness. She learns from each event, and comes out stronger and more confident. There's no grown-up Addie at the end of the story - mind you, and that's a good thing too. She will of course do much more growing up and learning, but we catch a glimpse of a core experience that will surely go on to define the confident adult that Addie will become one day.

A must read for young teens everywhere. Gives an intimate learning and growing-up experience while trying to accept pain and loss.

What's even more laudable is how the author weaves in larger issues like environment and conservation and pollution and poverty. At a few times, I did feel like the story was perhaps biting off more than it could possibly chew, and the ending does seem a tad contrived and simple. IMHO, it goes back to the intended audience - certainly, to a young teen's still-forming mind, such big issues must be shown as attackable to give them enough confidence to dig-in deeper as they grow. While it may present a slightly-simplified storyline, it must ultimately provide hope and a promise of moving forward. It does that.
Profile Image for Kate Waggoner.
399 reviews
September 2, 2019
@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 the lake's research lab, much to her parents chagrin. While doing research on lake pollution for the research lab, Addie is also completing her own investigation o the lake and the mysterious creature her brother believed lives in it. Her brother, Amos, left behind a notebook with the evidence he'd collected of the creature's existence. Addie along with the help of her new friend Tai, continues Amos's research. As they collect data, Addie begins to realize that the lake that she loves and her family's way of life may be in danger.

I honestly can't find the words for how this book made me feel. There were times when I was a little heart broken, others where I was laughing, and others where I felt I had been taught some great wisdom. The book deals with the topics of grief and the environment beautifully. It is obvious that Addie and her family are grieving and that they each express their grief in different ways. I love the message about pollution, recognizing it, and taking steps to try to help the problem. I also liked that Addie had a strong focus on not only helping the lake, but helping the farmers help the lake without losing their livelihood and way of life. While this book is about the environment and grief, it's also about finding yourself and your passions. Addie feels like half of herself is missing and that whenever her family looks at her they only see what's not there, Amos. Through her journey to find Amos's creature, what she really finds is her confidence and voice. One of my favorite things about this book is that it starts and ends in a similar fashion with a discussion about moving mountains. The image of this and the wisdom that Addie passes onto the reader is inspirational. This is a great book perfect for middle grade readers.
Profile Image for Susan Barnes.
415 reviews58 followers
March 23, 2021
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 science teacher recognises her aptitude for science and her need for a distraction. He encourages her to apply for the Young Scientist position at the biological station on the shores of Maple Lake. It means attending the station every day during the summer holidays. Her parents are reluctant to let Addie anywhere near the lake but she is determined and is accepted for the position. At the station, Addie meets Tai who is about her age and the son of a biological scientist who works there. They quickly become friends. Addie enjoys spending time with people who aren’t grieving the loss of Amos.

As well as collecting water samples and studying pollution in the lake, Addie and Tai investigate clues that Addie found in Amos’ notebook regarding a large sea monster he believed lived in the depths of Maple Lake.

I enjoyed, The Light in the Lake, however, I have concerns for younger readers. The reader is told Addie and Tai are twelve years old but they often act much older. The themes in the book—grief and loss, water quality, environmental pollution also suggest an older readership. I was also concerned Addie often sensed Amos’ presence as a warm hug which brought her comfort and sometimes, she believed he talked to her. This is unrealistic and harmful if children think this actually happens.

Overall, a well-written, moving story but better suited to young adults.
17 reviews
January 3, 2020
@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 Young Scientist, with a real scientist, presents itself, and Addie realizes that she needs to go back to Maple Lake. What Addie learns about in the lake is unexpected, and makes her question everything she has ever known. What she doesn’t realize is that she will find not only her passion for science and discovery, but magic, friendship, peace, and herself.

This was a fantastic middle grade book that made me cry and laugh over and over again. I could feel Addie’s grief over losing her brother, and the book explored how different people grieve in different ways. It was also a book about being true yourself but at the same time, honoring a loved one who has passed away. When Addie learns that her beloved Maple Lake is polluted, and after she figures out why, she has some hard decisions to make. The whole time I was reading, I felt like I was right there with Addie. I didn’t always agree with how she was handling things in her life, but that made me love her as a main character all the more. She wasn’t perfect! I think students will connect with Addie and I’m definitely purchasing this book for my classroom!
Profile Image for Maranda.
567 reviews
May 6, 2020
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 part of a Young Scientists internship, she jumps at the opportunity. Not only will it get her back to the lake she loves, but she is also hoping that it will help her investigate the clues Amos left behind about a secret creature hiding within the depths of the lake. 

Along with new friend, Tai, Addie will have to find balance between the science she's always loved and the magic of Maple Lake. 

This book was one I couldn't put down. There was a sadness to every page, even while Addie slowly comes out of the grief that has swallowed her up since her brother's death. I wanted to keep reading, mostly because I wanted to know that Addie was going to be OK. And to have that connection with a character is just wonderful. 

I was considering this book for my STEM Club and I am going to recommend it but I am not sure I will pick it as the book we read next, mostly because I try to keep the club light and I am not sure I want to go into Addie's grief. But the science--ecology, waterways, pollution, scientific method and more--really worked well in this book. There was a really nice balance between what can be known and what can't be--the magic and the proven. 

It could be that this book spoke to me on another level because I have a twin brother, but I think is was just a great read overall. This one gets a very high 4.5 stars from me.
Profile Image for Kirstin (chooselovebooks).
140 reviews44 followers
September 5, 2019
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 clues left behind in Amos’ notebook, about a mysterious golden-scaled-creature that lives in the lake’s shadowy depths. Addie enlists the help of the head researcher’s son, Tai, to investigate her brother’s clues. She is meant to be measuring pollution levels but ends up pulled between her love of science and the magic that connects her with her lost brother. I really loved the sweet friendship that this story revolves around and how even though the book focuses on this mystical creature living in the lake, it really is a study on pollution and environmentalism that can appeal to readers of any age. Addie’s story was touching! And I thoroughly enjoyed her journey of redefining herself in her twin’s absence. Overall it was a moving story that also succeeded in teaching the reader a lot of scientific facts, as well. I think this is definitely one of those middle-grade reads that anyone could enjoy, regardless of age.

Rating: 3.5⭐️, rounded up to 4.
Profile Image for Jess Redman.
Author 7 books270 followers
May 5, 2019
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 that Lake Maple is beginning to show signs of pollution—and she also begins to investigate the magical creature that her brother thought dwelt there. After all, even scientists can't know everything.

Baughman has written a story about grief and friendship, science and magic, the everyday and the impossible. Addie's family relationships are realistic and tenderly drawn, and her friendship with the irrepressible Tai adds a light-hearted and fun element. Readers will be drawn into Addie's environmental research and exploration, as well as the dynamics of Addie's small farming town, where community, buying local, and living with the land are valued. I highly recommend this thoughtful, lovely, STEM-filled story about how we are part of and healed by nature and how sometimes there is more to this wondrous world than meets the eye.
Profile Image for Alicia.
18 reviews
August 20, 2019
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 since her twin brother, Amos, drowned in it a few months ago. She is ready to go back, but how will she be able to convince her parents to let her return?

Then Addie finds a journal her brother was keeping that contains clues and evidence of a mysterious creature living in Maple Lake. Addie didn’t believe Amos when he told her about his theory of the creature’s existence shortly before he died. His clues hardly seemed scientific or factual to Addie, but now she is determined to prove him right.

This is an amazing debut novel that beautifully weaves together both science and magic with a focus on the scientific method and environmentalism. Addie is a well-developed character that struggles with grief and learning who she is without her twin brother. This book would be ideal for grades 4 – 6.
Profile Image for Lauren.
49 reviews3 followers
April 5, 2020
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 never inappropriate read.

If explained with some science vocabulary exploration, it could be enjoyed as young as 9 years old. The Light in the Lake may also interest readers all the way up until high school as a nostalgic ‘how we were then’; changing friendships and the tension of growing independence will strike a chord in the past and present. I am not ready to include quotes here - I still feel like holding the book close to my heart and the story along with it.

11 pages of summary and paraphrase notes and quotes and reactions...I’m not sure what to choose yet!
Profile Image for Tiffany.
480 reviews83 followers
October 17, 2020
I was genuinely surprised by this book. It is such a beautiful & raw exploration of grief & life after loss, showcasing not just Addie’s mourning process, but also her parents & cousin. I cried A LOT when I read this book. I think the last middle grade book that made me feel this emotionally raw was Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.

Environmental aspects are a huge part of this book, as is bravery & standing up for whats right.

[spoiler ahead]

A big complaint I’ve seen on this book is the lack of conclusion about the magical creature Amos was investigating. There are things seen here & there, but nothing concrete. While I understand people’s disappointment, I felt that was kind of the point. While so many things can be discovered & proved through science, there are many mysteries we’ll never understand. My understanding was that the creature WAS real, bringing attention to the pollution problem in Maple Lake. Once it has fulfilled its role in that, it slipped quietly to the wayside once again.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Andrea Balfour.
411 reviews3 followers
January 24, 2020
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 twin sister, cousin, aunt, uncle and Grandpa, have to figure out how to make a new life in his absence. No one knows how to relate anymore but the lake is the center of their lives and will be what draws them back together, though not in a way you'd expect.

The story is sweet and perfect for a young reader - aged 10-13. (And older, obviously, since I loved it.)
Profile Image for Alexa.
10 reviews
February 24, 2022
5/5 for this book! This book was so personal and so pure! Losing a family member is never easy. No matter who it is, you have to recover well. This book really shows that! Addie's passion is Science and Biological Studies. She is always fascinated by it and even get's an opportunity to spend the summer out on Maple lake studying different topics. After losing her brother, Amos, Addie loses hope in almost everything. She never thinks twice that her brother would want to live her life but she feels like it is almost impossible to go on without him. They did everything as a family so doing this he loved, makes it even harder. Amos had a journal where he kept all of his most-recent discoveries in Maple Lake. I mean, I'm gonna try not to spoil it! This book is so real and down-to-earth it is insane. I truly loved it!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
16 reviews5 followers
March 16, 2019
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 might not be familiar with rural Vermont. This is a wonderful book for both young readers and their adults!
Profile Image for Rebecca Balcárcel.
Author 4 books83 followers
June 18, 2019
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 glimpses. She learns that her science mind may not be able to explain everything. And by the end, that's okay.
September 9, 2019
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 important ever, this is a very topical book with a great message for young readers. Very touching and heartfelt--highly recommended!
Profile Image for Kristy.
903 reviews12 followers
January 16, 2020
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 grade stories, the undercurrent of environmentalism made this story really stand out. The writing is beautiful, the setting is beautiful. really well done.
Profile Image for Becky.
Author 4 books2 followers
March 6, 2020
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 mountains. Meaningful and impactful. I can't wait to read more this author!
Profile Image for Karen Hsu.
470 reviews4 followers
August 4, 2020
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 magical connection with nature.
Profile Image for Terry Maguire.
489 reviews11 followers
October 11, 2020
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 mystery regarding the creature. Recommended.
Profile Image for Caitlyn.
30 reviews
April 7, 2020
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...
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