The Hole in the Wall by Lisa Rowe Fraustino
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Description from GoodReads: Eleven-year-old Sebby has found the perfect escape from his crummy house and bickering family: The Hole in the Wall. It’s a pristine, beautiful glen in the midst of a devastated mining area behind Sebby’s home. But not long after he finds it his world starts falling apart: his family’s chickens disappear, colors start jumping off the wall and coming to life, and after sneaking a taste of raw cookie dough he finds himself with the mother of all stomachaches. When Sebby sets out to solve these mysteries, he and his twin sister, Barbie, get caught in a wild chase through the tunnels and caverns around The Hole in the Wall — all leading them to the mining activities of one Stanley Odum, the hometown astrophysicist who’s buying up all the land behind Sebby’s home. Exactly what is Mr. Odum mining in his secret facility, and does it have anything to do with the mystery of the lost chickens and Sebby’s stomachache? The answers to these questions go much further than the twins expect.
A beautiful countryside has been spoiled due to mining. Sebby, an 11year old boy, has discovered a hidden cave in the midst of the destruction around it. The cave is his refuge from his dysfunctional family. He calls it his hole in the wall. His father is an emotionally and verbally abusive drunk, his older brother is a runaway, and his mother works long hours to earn a meager income.
Strange things begin to happen. The first indication is the chickens. The begin to act strangely and lay petrified eggs. Sebby is magnetically attached to a chick. He sees beautiful swirling colors in the rocks and water.
Something rotten is afoot and all clues point to the mining company.
This is a fantastic tale geared towards a middle grade reader. Some events are bizarre, but eventually lead to the conclusion. I felt this book had an environmentalist feel to it. It sends a strong message about taking care of the land that we live on and being responsible for messing it up. In the end it also indicates how nature will reclaim it's own. This book is full of imagination and creativity.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Milkweed Editions for making this available to download on Netgalley. That is where I obtained the copy that I read.