Author: Delia Ray
Publication: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (November 10, 2015)
Description: Running away from home isn't as easy as Ren thinks it will be. At least she isn't running very far-just a few miles to the ghost town of Fortune . . . or Mis-Fortune as everyone else calls it. Mis-Fortune on the Mississippi. Supposedly, there's an abandoned school on the outskirts with cheap rooms for rent. Ren knows her plan sounds crazy. But with only a few more weeks until Dad comes home from his tour of duty in Afghanistan, she also knows she has to do something drastic so Mom will come to her senses and stop seeing that creep Rick Littleton for good.
From the moment she enters the school's shadowy halls, Ren finds herself drawn into its secrets. Every night old Mrs. Baxter, the landlady, wanders the building on a mysterious quest. What could she be up to? And can Mrs. Baxter's outlandish plan to transform the gym into a pearl-button museum ever succeed? With a quirky new friend named Hugh at her side, Ren sets out to solve the mystery that could save Fortune from fading away. But what about her family's future? Can that be saved too?
My Thoughts: The summer after sixth grade is one of all sorts of changes for Ren. Her dad is serving in Afghanistan and, before he left, he moved out of the family home. Now her mother has made a new friend named Rick and Ren fears that her parents are headed for divorce. To try to break up the friendship, Ren runs away from home and winds up in Fortune - a nearby ghost town.
Hildy has opened up the old school as a boarding house and is busy searching it for a hidden treasure. She is also turning it into a button museum to let others know about the history of the town which was one a center for making shell buttons.
Ren makes friends with a lonely young boy named Hugh and together they explore the school to try to find the hidden treasure. They are sometimes helped by Hildy's grandson Tucker after Hugh and Tucker finally become friends.
The story gave an interesting history of a little known industry and was also a good story about learning to accept changes. I enjoyed getting to know Ren and learning more about shell buttons.
"We can't hold back change, Ren," she said. "Sometimes things change for the better. Sometimes for the worse. Either way, we've got to be grateful for what we have and take life as it comes—good and bad—one step at a time."I got this ARC from You can buy your copy here.