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A young heroine in Depression-era Maine is navigating the rocky terrain of her new life on Echo Mountain. After the financial crash, Ellie and her family have lost nearly everything--including their home in town. They have started over, carving out a new life in the unforgiving terrain of Echo Mountain. Though her sister Esther, especially, resents everything about the moun A young heroine in Depression-era Maine is navigating the rocky terrain of her new life on Echo Mountain. After the financial crash, Ellie and her family have lost nearly everything--including their home in town. They have started over, carving out a new life in the unforgiving terrain of Echo Mountain. Though her sister Esther, especially, resents everything about the mountain, Ellie has found more freedom, a new strength, and a love of the natural world that now surrounds them. But there is little joy, even for Ellie, as they all struggle with the sorrow and aftermath of an accident that left her father in a coma. An accident for which Ellie has accepted the unearned weight of blame. Urgent for a cure to bring her father back, Ellie is determined to try anything. Following her heart, and the lead of a scruffy mutt, Ellie will make her way to the top of the mountain, in search of the healing secrets of a woman known only as "the hag." But the mountain still has many untold stories left to reveal to Ellie, as she finds her way forward among a complex constellation of strong women spanning generations.


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A young heroine in Depression-era Maine is navigating the rocky terrain of her new life on Echo Mountain. After the financial crash, Ellie and her family have lost nearly everything--including their home in town. They have started over, carving out a new life in the unforgiving terrain of Echo Mountain. Though her sister Esther, especially, resents everything about the moun A young heroine in Depression-era Maine is navigating the rocky terrain of her new life on Echo Mountain. After the financial crash, Ellie and her family have lost nearly everything--including their home in town. They have started over, carving out a new life in the unforgiving terrain of Echo Mountain. Though her sister Esther, especially, resents everything about the mountain, Ellie has found more freedom, a new strength, and a love of the natural world that now surrounds them. But there is little joy, even for Ellie, as they all struggle with the sorrow and aftermath of an accident that left her father in a coma. An accident for which Ellie has accepted the unearned weight of blame. Urgent for a cure to bring her father back, Ellie is determined to try anything. Following her heart, and the lead of a scruffy mutt, Ellie will make her way to the top of the mountain, in search of the healing secrets of a woman known only as "the hag." But the mountain still has many untold stories left to reveal to Ellie, as she finds her way forward among a complex constellation of strong women spanning generations.

30 review for Echo Mountain

  1. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    Sometimes we reviewers talk about "nostalgia". How it plays a role in the books we review and the way we interpret those titles. I've been thinking a lot about that word lately. Seems it only really comes up in conversation when you're talking about works of fiction set in the past. Sometimes such books romanticize history or historical moments. They may have different reasons for doing so, but in the end there’s a kind of yearning worked into the fabric of the novel for a time that is not the p Sometimes we reviewers talk about "nostalgia". How it plays a role in the books we review and the way we interpret those titles. I've been thinking a lot about that word lately. Seems it only really comes up in conversation when you're talking about works of fiction set in the past. Sometimes such books romanticize history or historical moments. They may have different reasons for doing so, but in the end there’s a kind of yearning worked into the fabric of the novel for a time that is not the present. With author Lauren Wolk, it's different. It's not that her books aren’t beautiful and it's not that they don't bring a specific historical moment in the past to life. More, when I read a book by Wolk, what I yearn for isn't history. I yearn for nature. Nobody conjures up the feeling of pine needles under your bare feet or that wind that seeps into your bones quite like she does. In the past I've approached her books the same way you'd approach a sleeping panther. You have no idea what to expect when you pick one up. But her latest Echo Mountain trades in that sense of anxiety, exchanging it for mere high tension. Set in a Depression-era Maine, it's about the stories other people tell us about ourselves, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, and why sometimes kids are the ones that have all the answers. "I had work to do. Honey to harvest. A hag to save. A father to save. And more besides." Maine. 1934. Ellie was just a young child when the stock market crashed. Next thing she knew, her family was pulling up roots and headed to Echo Mountain. With hardly anything more than the shirts on their backs, the family of five settles into the wilderness where Ellie finds a true home. Of course, that was before the accident that put her father in a coma, unable to provide for his family, and the blame for it at her feet. Since that time Ellie has been content to sit back and let her mother and older sister tend to him. That is, until takes it into her head that enough is enough. There's a father to wake, there are mysterious tiny wooden carvings cropping up everywhere Ellie looks, there's a hag on the mountain that needs help, and it’s all so much more than just one girl can handle. Still, handle it, she will, because nobody knows the mountain, its secrets and its cures, better than Ellie. You do not pick up a Lauren Wolk book, looking for fluff. This is the woman that scared the socks off of me with her pretty blonde psychopath in Wolf Hollow, to say nothing of the villain of Beyond the Bright Sea. In sharp contrast, Echo Mountain is strangely bereft of its own baddie. Nature is both friend and foe. Circumstances, bad luck, and life itself get their kicks in, but a good old-fashioned human antagonist isn't waiting in the wings. What does that leave us? Wolk's beautiful writing. Not merely words and sentences (those are consistently surprising, and I'll say more about them in a moment) but smaller details, like how the book plays with foreshadowing. I get a bit tired of books that end chapters with sentences like, "It would be the last time I'd ever see him again." How much more interesting to have lines like, "The morning began as any morning might - a matter of yawns, squinting at the weather, wobbling on the tightrope between yesterday and tomorrow - but the day to come would be the longest and most interesting of my life." I think this is a good example of the type of foreshadowing that comes at the beginning of a paragraph rather than the end. Wolk applies it periodically and with such a light hand that it feels novel every time. Wolk’s first book, Wolf Hollow was an adult novel adapted for a child audience. As such, when I read her, I find myself reading not with a child’s eye but a librarian’s. In this particular book I've encountered something that happens only because I'm an adult reader of children's books and not a child reader of them. Early in Echo Mountain Ellie decides that her father, in his coma, will never wake up if people just treat him sweet and sing him lullabies. Surely he'll respond to a sharper stimulus, like the fear of his eldest daughter in peril or drinks made of the mountain's bounty. Essentially, Ellie is still a child and these are the kind of experiments to which children are rather prone. Just a half a step away from mud pies, really. As an adult, I was terrified, not sure how far she'd go. After all, children's conjurings can be mighty and terrible, particularly when they're carrying a burden they cannot name. Had I read this book as a kid, I think I would have been completely on board with Ellie's internal logic. That's the problem with growing up. Threats loom larger, particularly when concerning children. Of course, Ellie's wild plan eventually made me wonder how reliable she is as the book's narrator. Could Wolk be playing with the reader, causing them to doubt her intentions? She says she only puts a snake in the bedroom with her comatose father because she thinks her sister's true scream will wake him up, but this is the sister that's been taking little stabs and jabs at Ellie all book. Sometimes it seems Ellie's cures serve doubly as revenge. Is she even being honest with herself about the reasons she does what she does? Sometimes I wonder whom Wolk reads. What are her primary influences? I only wonder because sometimes in her writing there are echoes (forgive the pun) of other titles. There is a moment in the book when you've the distinct feeling that everything is getting very Boo Radley-ish. Mysterious carvings from a shy carver? That's straight up Harper Lee, that is. I feel like Wolk's doing that on purpose, to a certain extent. The carver isn't a Boo, but there are echoes of Boo in there. Wolk doesn't really owe her tone or feel to anyone specific, though. Oh! That reminds me! Remember when I mentioned how brilliant individual lines of this book sometimes sound? Well get a load of these little gems I plucked out of the narrative: - "And every long, gray rain that found its way into our sad tent reminded them of how we had lost our house. Sold nearly everything we owned. Took what little was left. And went looking for a way to survive until the world tipped back to well." - "Before I left the room, I kissed my father on his head. One the scar there. It felt like a map against my lips. So I followed it." - "Then I left the shed and walked up the path and, after a bit, into the woods, through a hemlock grove so full of shadows that almost nothing grew between the trunks of the old trees, the deep layer of dead needles underfoot like the soft coat of a great, sprawling animal that didn't mind the weight of me." - "My mother looked at me over her shoulder. I could see her regret, but something else, too. The same thing I saw on her face when any wild thing came too close to the cabin." - "For a long time, I'd thought that people simply were who they were and became who they became. But I didn't think that anymore." - "She was a small woman, which should have made me feel better, but she was like the centipedes that sometimes raced in a frenzy across the cabin floor, their legs like brittle hair, so fast and shivery that I'd leap in terror at the sight of them." - "I turned back to my father. I hated the way his skin pulled hard across the bones of his face, as if someone were making him into a drum. As if he were hollow. As if someone was supposed to hit him to make any music at all." Okay okay. So it's beautiful, sure. Extremely well written and heartfelt. Lots of good moments. So here's the million-dollar question, sweetheart. How you gonna sell this to the average kid? For the historical fiction lovers, the ones that like The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, they'll probably take one glance at the cover and whip it out of your hands, leaving a little poofy cloud like you’d see in Warner Brothers cartoon. But the rest of them? How you gonna sell it? After all, it's clocking in at a hefty 368 pages and it is NOT a verse novel. The answer may come thanks to good old-fashioned gross out tactics. Because lying in wait in this story is some seriously icky stuff. You're gonna see honey used in ways you've never seen honey used before. Got a problem with maggots? Well get used to them, babykins, because they've got a job to do and by gum they're gonna do it. As I see it, this doesn't look on its outside like a book where a kid comes THIS close to branding an old lady with a heated iron, so make it clear that sleepy and nappy this book is not. There's a safety to Echo Mountain that was missing from Wolk's previous books. I'm still making up my mind about whether or not that's a good or bad thing. It’s more than just the lack of a human villain. Reading this book felt so easy and natural. The drive to continue wasn’t based on anything but pleasure in the writing itself. There’s pleasure too to be found in finding yourself in the head of a uniquely capable young woman. The kind unafraid to provide for not just her own family but other people who need her as well. There’s a loneliness to the kind of life Ellie leads, but the trade off is that she feels truly free. Hand this to the kid that yearns for that freedom. For wide-open spaces and mysterious figures hiding in the shadows and snot nosed brothers and lots and lots of puppies. Hand it to someone who needs their own mountain. Even if it’s just a literary one. For ages 9-12.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joey T

    /1.5 stars/ DNF To sum up this book: Girl lives in a mountain Random dog(?) has babies or something She wants the puppy Dad goes into a coma Girl does stupid things to try and get him out of coma Wanders up a random hill and runs into a healer’s house (oh, ya don’t say?) Heals the healer (cause something’s wrong with her dang leg duhhh) Finds another boy I DNF Yeah, if you want to read some boring crap where nothing important happens with little children who have irresponsible parents, this may just b /1.5 stars/ DNF To sum up this book: Girl lives in a mountain Random dog(?) has babies or something She wants the puppy Dad goes into a coma Girl does stupid things to try and get him out of coma Wanders up a random hill and runs into a healer’s house (oh, ya don’t say?) Heals the healer (cause something’s wrong with her dang leg duhhh) Finds another boy I DNF Yeah, if you want to read some boring crap where nothing important happens with little children who have irresponsible parents, this may just be the book for you. Sheeeesh I’m out of here. At least it was clean 😏 Happy reading peeps!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth☮

    Wow! I loved this book and the main character, Ellie. Her family is torn from their life in town at the onset of the Great Depression. Her father is a tailor and her mother a music teacher, but now they are recreating their life on Echo Mountain in rural Maine. Ellie, along with her brother Samuel and her sister Esther, adapt to a life they have never known; one that requires resilience and hard work. Ellie takes to life on the mountain and learns valuable lessons from her father. A tragic accid Wow! I loved this book and the main character, Ellie. Her family is torn from their life in town at the onset of the Great Depression. Her father is a tailor and her mother a music teacher, but now they are recreating their life on Echo Mountain in rural Maine. Ellie, along with her brother Samuel and her sister Esther, adapt to a life they have never known; one that requires resilience and hard work. Ellie takes to life on the mountain and learns valuable lessons from her father. A tragic accident challenges Ellie to learn who she is and who she must be for her family. This story focuses on Ellie and she is a great character; a girl full of moxie and grace. Her insights are clever. Wolk has created another great story about finding your voice. I loved this book as much as Wolf Hollow. Thanks to Penguin/Random House for the ARC.

  4. 4 out of 5

    TL

    in my Owlcrate jr April box:) --- I already miss these people. On a roll with historical fiction lately :) Well done characters and stories, with a few surprises along the way and unexpected things that have people doing what they wouldn't expect and learning about themselves along the way.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie Grover

    “Loneliness shared is loneliness halved.” As her family struggles with the aftermath of an accident that has left her father in a coma, Ellie is determined to help him wake up. I laughed at the innocent antics she tried and marveled at Ellie’s tenaciousness. Ellie is determined to help her father and decides to make her way to the top of Echo Mountain in search of healing secrets from “the hag.” But the hag and the mountain have secrets and untold stories and maybe a chance for happiness. “I am “Loneliness shared is loneliness halved.” As her family struggles with the aftermath of an accident that has left her father in a coma, Ellie is determined to help him wake up. I laughed at the innocent antics she tried and marveled at Ellie’s tenaciousness. Ellie is determined to help her father and decides to make her way to the top of Echo Mountain in search of healing secrets from “the hag.” But the hag and the mountain have secrets and untold stories and maybe a chance for happiness. “I am stronger now because I have to be.” The writing throughout this story is poetic and heartfelt. “The sun was slipping down the far side of the day, and the shadows were slowly unspooling like black ribbons across the yard.” “Step by step. That’s the way out of something hard.” “The things we need to do, we learn by doing.” Make time for this beautiful book. It will remain with your being for quite some time. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laura Gardner

    Ellie’s family lives in a small cabin on Echo Mountain in 1934 Maine making, harvesting, and gathering all they need to survive. Her parents and two siblings moved to their small plot of land after the Great Depression began and living in town didn’t make sense anymore. Ellie loves the outdoors and loves learning new things, mostly by teaching herself. It is hard to be too happy, however, because Ellie’s father is stuck in a coma after an accident that her family blames on her. Her mother won’t Ellie’s family lives in a small cabin on Echo Mountain in 1934 Maine making, harvesting, and gathering all they need to survive. Her parents and two siblings moved to their small plot of land after the Great Depression began and living in town didn’t make sense anymore. Ellie loves the outdoors and loves learning new things, mostly by teaching herself. It is hard to be too happy, however, because Ellie’s father is stuck in a coma after an accident that her family blames on her. Her mother won’t play her mandolin anymore and Ellie’s big sister Esther hates that they had to leave town. Everyone treats her father with great care, but after reviving a newborn puppy in a bucket of cold water, Ellie decides maybe her father needs more of a jump start to find his way back to his family, as well. She tries various things: cold water splashed on his face, a snake left behind to make her sister scream, and more. When Ellie meets two other people who live on the mountain, Cate (a healer called a “hag” or a witch by others) and Larkin, she threatens to upset the fragile ecosystem of their interconnected mountain community. There’s so much to love here: Wolk’s gorgeous writing, the interweaving plot points, a richly drawn setting, and one of my favorite characters of 2020. Ellie is resilient, brave, and resourceful. Best of all, Ellie lives in harmony with her surroundings, fully aware of her impact on the world around her. She may have been born in town, but the woods are where she belongs. Students who love Wolk’s other historical fiction should definitely pick up this book. HIghly recommended for aspiring writers, as well. Reading Lauren Wolk is like taking a master class in how to write descriptive historical fiction.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Oh, the beauty of this book! With her fine eye, Wolk captures the wonder, the beauty, the pain of everything: birth; loss; friendship; fear; helplessness; guilt; gratitude. This is a well-worthy successor to Rachel Field's Depression novel Calico Bush, another historical novel set in Maine. Highly recommended!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Travis Mcgee

    What a beautiful escape Lauren Wolk has created; her latest Echo Mountain transports readers into a wondrous world. But it is not an escape from the hardships of the virus with which we are currently dealing. The hardship on Echo Mountain that Ellie and her family are dealing with in this historical read is the great depression. Some characters cope better than others and the way forward is a challenge but there is an optimism and hope, that is a salve for our current suffering. That this book i What a beautiful escape Lauren Wolk has created; her latest Echo Mountain transports readers into a wondrous world. But it is not an escape from the hardships of the virus with which we are currently dealing. The hardship on Echo Mountain that Ellie and her family are dealing with in this historical read is the great depression. Some characters cope better than others and the way forward is a challenge but there is an optimism and hope, that is a salve for our current suffering. That this book is inspirational for our times is a lagniappe, for of course it was written prior to our current struggle. The tone is pitch perfect, the characters well developed, the setting evocatively drawn and the plot has enough urgency to keep you reading. The research serves well to illustrate the time period as well as the flora and fauna of the Oxford Hills in Maine. Her use of the research is well placed and not overdone as is sometimes the case with historical fiction. But the real star, as in all three of Ms Wolk's middle grade books, is the lyrical prose, especially the similes and metaphors that ring as true as a fairy circle. Don't let the middle grade tag mislead you, this book is for adults too.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shella

    What a beautiful story that takes place in Maine in 1934. Ellie and her family moved from the city to Echo Mountain after the Great Depression caused her father (a tailor) and her mother (a music teacher) to lose their jobs. The book starts out after they had been on Echo Mountain for three years. Ellie has learned many lessons from her father and has acclimated to the wilderness. Her mother and elder sister have not. After a tragic accident, Ellie has taken the reigns of being the one to glue t What a beautiful story that takes place in Maine in 1934. Ellie and her family moved from the city to Echo Mountain after the Great Depression caused her father (a tailor) and her mother (a music teacher) to lose their jobs. The book starts out after they had been on Echo Mountain for three years. Ellie has learned many lessons from her father and has acclimated to the wilderness. Her mother and elder sister have not. After a tragic accident, Ellie has taken the reigns of being the one to glue the family together remembering the words of wisdom from her father. She is a character that many student may learn valuable traits from: tenacity, resiliency, dedication, loyalty, bravery, sensibility, selfless caring. Ellie takes on the tasks that others around her are not able to deal with in their environment. She has the intuition and ability to accept others strengths and weaknesses without long lasting resentment. The story has many rich themes that are woven together beautifully. Wolk has a way to describe relationships, setting, and epiphanies in a meaningful way that stays with the reader. There are may quotes that may pulled from the story. This was one of my favorites: "...that life is a matter of moments, strung together like rain. To try to touch just one drop at a time, to try to count them or order them or reckon their worth- each by each- was impossible." I think this is a title to watch for some Newbery recognition this year.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    I absolutely loved everything about ECHO MOUNTAIN by Lauren Wolk. The characters are lovely, complex people that I wish I knew in real life. The mountain and the wildlife are formidable and beautiful at the same time. The storyline is so compelling that I couldn't slow down my reading even though I wanted to savor every word! I so enjoyed watching Ellie become who she was meant to be. I'm excited to introduce her to my students!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    My love affair with Lauren Wolk’s writing continues. If you haven’t read her yet, you are missing out. Plain and simple.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    This book is delightful! Lauren Wolk has knocked it out of the park again. This book is such a wonderful story about determination and kindness. For any nature lover, this is a must read. Based during the Depression Era, this book makes you realize how important things are in a time of hardship.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike Hughes

    My early front runner for best book of 2020. First book I have read in one day for many years. I could not put it down. Coming of age story during the great depression. can not say enough about this one. Lauren wolk is and always will be one of my favorites. great author and another great book from her.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    “I myself was odd in many ways, and I liked other things that were odd. Questions worth answering.” Any book written by Lauren Wolk, in my opinion, will be spectacular, and Echo Mountain is no exception. After Wolf Hollow and Beyond the Bright Sea, her third book is just as beautiful! Set in Maine, just after the Depression, in 1934, the story follows Ellie and her family who have moved to Echo Mountain after a massive change in finances. Life on the mountain is challenging for the family, and a “I myself was odd in many ways, and I liked other things that were odd. Questions worth answering.” Any book written by Lauren Wolk, in my opinion, will be spectacular, and Echo Mountain is no exception. After Wolf Hollow and Beyond the Bright Sea, her third book is just as beautiful! Set in Maine, just after the Depression, in 1934, the story follows Ellie and her family who have moved to Echo Mountain after a massive change in finances. Life on the mountain is challenging for the family, and a tragedy strikes that tests Ellie, but gives her space to take some risks that push her in right and good directions. This interconnected mountain community offers a framework for life changing connections, opportunities for growth, and the shifting of perspectives in these multi-faceted and sometimes broken characters. I loved this: The natural world is just as much a character as Ellie, Cate, Larkin, and Captan, to name a few. Even the bees and the bear Ellie encounters at one point in the story are memorable and play a special role in the narrative. I don’t know how Lauren does it, but she does it magnificently. This is a book you’ll hug when you reach the end. I appreciated the way that Ellie’s assumptions about certain characters shifted by the end of the story. What she realized: people can’t be neatly pushed into categories based on only a few observations. Rather, we must look deeply and keep an open mind—we have to agree to be wrong in how we assume people will behave. I think my favorite relationship in the story is the friendship between Ellie and Larkin. They are so dear. Also, this isn’t mentioned much in reviews, but I really love Lauren’s acknowledgements at the end of the book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kerri

    Don’t listen to the audiobook! Samuel and Miss Cate’s voices are read cartoonishly. It might ruin your reading experience. Otherwise, this book is divine. I didn’t love it as much as Wolf Hollow, but to be fair, that would be a far reach.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gwyneth

    This was a beautiful book that went too quickly, I wish it had been longer. By the author of Wolf Hollow, this is a "young adult" book about a girl during the Great Depression. I can't wait to pass this on to others so they can enjoy it too.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Lauren Wolk's newest middle grade book, Echo Mountain, showcases her talent for pure storytelling and lyrical prose. Her characters are people you want to know and eventually believe you do. When twelve-year-old Ellie's family loses their home during the Great Depression, they have no other option than to move to the rural mountains of Maine. Ellie is her family's anchor and the one most open to to change. When extreme tragedy and positive alliances occur, Ellie takes charge. "The things we nee Lauren Wolk's newest middle grade book, Echo Mountain, showcases her talent for pure storytelling and lyrical prose. Her characters are people you want to know and eventually believe you do. When twelve-year-old Ellie's family loses their home during the Great Depression, they have no other option than to move to the rural mountains of Maine. Ellie is her family's anchor and the one most open to to change. When extreme tragedy and positive alliances occur, Ellie takes charge. "The things we need to learn to do, we learn to do by doing" becomes her mantra. The authors beautiful phrasing sets you deep in the woods, reaching into a beehive, hearing the snap of the path underfoot until you are mesmerized by it all. I read this book in two sittings and did not want it to end. I want to learn more about these characters-a sequel please? I would happily place this book in the hands of many a middle schooler. It is my top pick for the 2021 Newbery so far. I would like to thank Dutton Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for the uncorrected ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Lauren Wolk is a master with words. The way she writes and uses language is amazing to me. I loved this story so much! Such a beautiful story!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Margo Jantzi

    #HeartprintBook #EchoMountain by @Wolk.Lauren “Step by step, that’s the way out of something hard.” “The things we need to learn to do, we learn by doing.” @penguinkids Releasing on 4/21/2020 #HistoricalFiction #LaurenWolk #NetGalley #mglit #middlegradefiction #family #resilience #hope #Depression #BookaDay #AASLslm #books #booknerd #booklove #bookstagram #book #middlegrade #Maine

  20. 5 out of 5

    ThatBookGal

    I took much longer with this book than planned, mostly because I just wanted to savour every single minute with it. I loved it so very much, it was the perfect calm and gentle tale that I didn't know I needed. I had never heard of Lauren Wolk before this book arrived in my Owlcrate Jr box, but I'll definitely be checking out her other books. Ellie was full of intelligence, tenacity and a real thirst to learn about the mountain around her. I enjoyed every minute I spent with her, and her special I took much longer with this book than planned, mostly because I just wanted to savour every single minute with it. I loved it so very much, it was the perfect calm and gentle tale that I didn't know I needed. I had never heard of Lauren Wolk before this book arrived in my Owlcrate Jr box, but I'll definitely be checking out her other books. Ellie was full of intelligence, tenacity and a real thirst to learn about the mountain around her. I enjoyed every minute I spent with her, and her special passion for nature was simply beautiful to read. The balanced and careful way in which she took what she needed from the woods around her is such an important lesson for children to learn, the way it was handled was perfect. I also admired her love for her family, and how she kept battling them to do what she believed right for her father. There were moments that made me laugh, especially Ellie's attempts to wake her father, and moments that made me cry. There was also so much to learn from the pages, about various plants and substances, and their properties that I'd wager the majority had no idea about. I could talk for hours about the elements of the book, but I'll just say read it instead. It's too beautiful to miss!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Lauren Wolk is an amazing storyteller. Don't miss this one!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Wolk, who set a high bar with Wolf Hollow and Beyond the Bright Sea, leaps pasts both with a story about a girl and her family adjusting to a new way of life. Ellie's family has had some hard luck and they are forced to move out of town and up onto the mountain. Her father builds them a cabin. They start to grow their own food and to adjust to life without conveniences when an accident puts Ellie's father into a coma. Her family blames her for the accident, but Ellie won't tell what actually hap Wolk, who set a high bar with Wolf Hollow and Beyond the Bright Sea, leaps pasts both with a story about a girl and her family adjusting to a new way of life. Ellie's family has had some hard luck and they are forced to move out of town and up onto the mountain. Her father builds them a cabin. They start to grow their own food and to adjust to life without conveniences when an accident puts Ellie's father into a coma. Her family blames her for the accident, but Ellie won't tell what actually happened and takes it upon herself to find a way to cure her father. She makes her way up mountain to look for "the hag", who she is sure can help, and that propels the rest of the story of finding lost connections, trusting one's instincts, and becoming who we are going to be because that changes every day. Wolk is really hitting her stride and I'm making Echo Mountain my first entry for consideration for the 2021 Newbery. Review from e-galley.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    There is a beautiful magic to Lauren Wolk's writing, and this book captivated me from start to finish. She makes it easy to connect to the natural world, and to characters that become so real it's like they are friends.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Manon

    This book was utter perfection. The setting, the story, the characters, the writing-style. Definitely one of the better middle grade books I have read. Can highly recommend.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley. There are some books that while reading you feel that you've been given a gift, that the author has bestowed upon you a bit of magic. I felt this way when I read All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and I felt this way while reading Echo Mountain. Lauren Wolk has captured the beauty of the mountains of Maine while juxtaposing them with the hardships and struggles of the Great Depression. Ellie's family was devastated by the crash. Her fath I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley. There are some books that while reading you feel that you've been given a gift, that the author has bestowed upon you a bit of magic. I felt this way when I read All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and I felt this way while reading Echo Mountain. Lauren Wolk has captured the beauty of the mountains of Maine while juxtaposing them with the hardships and struggles of the Great Depression. Ellie's family was devastated by the crash. Her father lost his business as a tailor, and no one could afford a music teacher even though her mother was an excellent one. When the family moves to Echo Mountain to start over something awakens inside Ellie. It is as if she is where she was always meant to be with a little bit of wildness growing in her like the buzzing of the bees or the growl of a bear. Her mother and sister Esther do not take to this new life the way Ellie and her father do and little Samuel is a boy, wild like the mountains anyway. As the family scrapes a life together from this wild place, tragedy strikes and her father is injured. Ellie must gather all her strength to learn to be what her family needs her to be. Wolk's characters are as beautiful and well-developed as her setting. The magic she weaves through her storytelling is a gift to her readers. This book will find a place in my K-5 library and will be recommended for grades 4-8.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

    I received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. When the Great Depression hits, Ellie's family is forced to leave the life they knew in town. They spend the last of their money on a lot of a land on a mountain where they build a house, plant vegetables, and raise livestock. For Ellie's mother and sister, this change is a hard and unwelcome one, missing town, its conveniences, and the people. Ellie, on the other hand, loves everything the mountain and its I received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. When the Great Depression hits, Ellie's family is forced to leave the life they knew in town. They spend the last of their money on a lot of a land on a mountain where they build a house, plant vegetables, and raise livestock. For Ellie's mother and sister, this change is a hard and unwelcome one, missing town, its conveniences, and the people. Ellie, on the other hand, loves everything the mountain and its woods has to offer her. She loves learning with her father, finding little treasures left by a mysterious friend, and living amongst the animals. After her father's accident, however, Ellie takes on many of the jobs her father once did, and though she doesn't mind the work, she misses the man who taught her so much, and is determined to find a way to help him get better. Along the way, she finds help in the most unlikely of places, and discovers her father isn’t the only one needing to be healed. I loved this book. This is by far my favorite of Lauren Wolk's middle grade novels. Ellie is an easy character to fall in love with, and her story had me from the first chapter. Samuel too is a sympathetic little brother. I think there are many readers who will be hooked as easily by this gem as I was.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marjorie

    (I want to thank Penguin Random House and NetGalley for letting me read an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion.) Every once in a while a book comes along at exactly the right time for exactly the right audience. Lauren Wolk’s new novel “Echo Mountain” may be such a book. Her newest work is a heartwarming and hopeful tale of self-discovery, determination, and the importance of community in difficult times. Thrust into a hardscrabble existence by the Great Depression, twelv (I want to thank Penguin Random House and NetGalley for letting me read an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion.) Every once in a while a book comes along at exactly the right time for exactly the right audience. Lauren Wolk’s new novel “Echo Mountain” may be such a book. Her newest work is a heartwarming and hopeful tale of self-discovery, determination, and the importance of community in difficult times. Thrust into a hardscrabble existence by the Great Depression, twelve-year-old Ellie and her “newly poor” family are adjusting to living off the land in the wilds 1934 Maine. Ellie’s mother and older sister Esther resist the change and long for the comforts of town, while Ellie finds herself an “echo-girl,” embracing both sides of her life as she comes of age on the mountain. After her father is badly injured by a falling tree, Ellie wonders if her father will ever wake from his coma and is on a mission to return him to her family. To accomplish this, Ellie knows she will have to be brave, try new things, and learn by doing. Against her mother’s admonitions, Ellie ventures up the craggy slopes searching for possible cures. Balsam sap? Skunk stink? Stinging bees? Putting a black snake in her father’s room? Nothing is off the table. What else can she try? Along the way Ellie meets Larkin, a mysterious boy who leaves her carved wooden figures, and old hag who lives in a dilapidated cabin at the top of the mountain. Ellie has to decide whether to listen to her mother’s advice and stay away from her new friends, or help heal the old woman’s suppurating leg wound. Ellie is torn between her civilized past and her growing love for the natural world with new sense of self it kindles in her. Wolk’s simple, yet poetic style captures both the beauty of the Maine landscape and the trials of life on the mountain. “Echo Mountain” with its vivid descriptions of puppies, adventure, and friendship also offers young readers a realistic portrait of a family finding joy in their “new normal.” This novel would be an excellent summer read. It might even inspire children to take a hike, try fishing, go camping, challenge themselves to do something new, or simply enjoy being outdoors and free to play.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dolores

    The Great Depression cost Ellie's family everything. So her tailor father and music teacher mother packed the family up and moved them to Echo Mountain. It is a totally different life for this town family, and the adjustment is not easy for Ellie's mother or sister. But Ellie and her father find their footing much faster. Then tragedy strikes. Ellie's father is injured in an accident and lies comatose. Most of his chores fall to Ellie, but that is fine with her. What is much harder is that her f The Great Depression cost Ellie's family everything. So her tailor father and music teacher mother packed the family up and moved them to Echo Mountain. It is a totally different life for this town family, and the adjustment is not easy for Ellie's mother or sister. But Ellie and her father find their footing much faster. Then tragedy strikes. Ellie's father is injured in an accident and lies comatose. Most of his chores fall to Ellie, but that is fine with her. What is much harder is that her family blames her for her father's accident. And to protect her family--she shoulders that blame. But everything changes when Ellie discovers "the hag," an old woman who lives at the top of the mountain injured. There is no one to help her except Ellie and a young boy named Larkin. Ellie discovers that her connection with nature serves her well as she sets out to heal the hag--and to awaken her father. Absolutely wonderful--as usual.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    A delightful new read from the author of the wonderful Wolf Hollow. I do feel some suspension of disbelief is required with the highly precocious 12 year old whose POV we follow. Her family has moved to a mountain to make their way during the Depression. When the father gets struck by a falling tree and lands in a coma, everything changes, burdens are unduly shouldered, and a lot of growth for our heroine occurs. Beyond her resentful older sister, inquisitive younger brother, and a mother doing A delightful new read from the author of the wonderful Wolf Hollow. I do feel some suspension of disbelief is required with the highly precocious 12 year old whose POV we follow. Her family has moved to a mountain to make their way during the Depression. When the father gets struck by a falling tree and lands in a coma, everything changes, burdens are unduly shouldered, and a lot of growth for our heroine occurs. Beyond her resentful older sister, inquisitive younger brother, and a mother doing her best, the story is rounded out w an odd boy peaking through the foliage, a strange dog, and a hag up the mountain. I really enjoyed the way Wolk wove feelings into Ellie’s thoughts, this is one area where things do seem to go beyond her maturation, but the thoughts are still a lovely analysis of life and all the back and forth truths of it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    vanessa

    3.5. I get what readers enjoy about Lauren Wolk now: her writing is pensive, slow, character-focused. I really enjoyed getting to know this family and the mountain they live on. It was much more uplifting and sunny than I was anticipating; I think the descriptions make it sound like a gloomy book and it's not. I stopped reading 70% of the way and waited a while for the audiobook. It was a nice way to finish the book. Semi-spoiler but not really: I enjoyed this much more when the mom and sister c 3.5. I get what readers enjoy about Lauren Wolk now: her writing is pensive, slow, character-focused. I really enjoyed getting to know this family and the mountain they live on. It was much more uplifting and sunny than I was anticipating; I think the descriptions make it sound like a gloomy book and it's not. I stopped reading 70% of the way and waited a while for the audiobook. It was a nice way to finish the book. Semi-spoiler but not really: I enjoyed this much more when the mom and sister came around to the main character's side.

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