Trip is a decent, reasonably hardworking young man, loves his great grandfather ‘Pappy’ who is ill in a care home, and has just discovered a whole new world of emotions when he set eyes on a new girl in school. Trouble is, the school bully has seen her too. Fuelled by a few coherent words Pappy said, he searches the loft for a trunk, inside which there are papers and clues to be studied and unravelled. Trip and his friend Josh are joined by a new friend, bright, attractive, and new to the school… with a nice turn in finding the answers to the most obscure clues. Trip occasionally can’t believe his luck, but there is a puzzle to be solved and the bully to be evaded, avoided and outwitted.
Scott Clements’ story is pacy and enjoyable. It paints pictures of young love, secret treasure and the fascinating history of the Florida coast, with no cloying romance or cliched travelogue. You care about the characters (well, not the bully and his henchmen, who early on were somewhat irritating but were gradually woven into the main plot). Mother, great grandfather and a few other necessary adults are skilfully portrayed. A mystery Native American is suitably mysterious and the intricacies of the treasure trail carefully managed to be neither so easy you wonder why previous generations of the family couldn’t solve it, nor so obtuse that the reader can’t follow.
Altogether a very enjoyable tale and one for young readers of any age.