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The Water Castle

por Megan Frazer Blakemore

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2932689,595 (3.67)9
Moving into an inherited mansion in Maine with their mother and stroke-afflicted father, three siblings uncover a mystery involving hidden passageways, family rivalries, and healing waters.
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In the beginning of The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore, sixth graders Ephraim, Mallory, and Will are natural enemies. Ephraim Appledore-Smith is the new kid in the town of Crystal Spring, Maine, but he belongs to the rich family that owns the Water Castle (which is not actually a castle, but a large house full of mysteries). Mallory Green is the descendent of the folks who have long been the Water Castle's caretakers--and Mallory is sick of hearing about it from her parents. Will Wylie feels bitter over the rivalry his ancestors have had with the Appledores for over a century.

Yet somehow these three end up becoming friends as they investigate the secrets of the Water Castle. Where do all the hidden tunnels lead? Are the legends about the Fountain of Youth true? Is the secret to immortality hidden somewhere inside?

A neat blend of science and possible magic, fair warning, this book leaves a lot of questions unanswered when it's over. The novel's themes of scientific discovery and rivalry are played out both in the present day and in a parellel story set in 1908. Both the modern and historical plots are connected to the Peary expedition to the North Pole. The author also explores the dynamics of ruptured families. Ephraim's father has just suffered a stroke and is not recovering well. Mallory's parents are separated. Will's father is distant and angry.

Ephraim is a flawed hero that I never really warmed up to, but I really liked Mallory and wished there had been more about Will. Though the writing was good, I wished the book were not quite so long. Recommended for children who can handle ambiguity and like challenging reads. ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
children's fiction; fantasy/sci-fi. Frazer Blakemore manages to transport to an improbably magical setting; other elements of the story fall somewhat short (science of "fountain of youth" water is flimsy as you might expect; story is resolved quite easily and quickly for younger minds, but older kids will recognize that things are not necessarily back to 100%) but the characters are likeable enough. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Ephraim and his family have just moved to the Water Castle, an old legend-laden mansion at the top of Crystal Springs, Maine. They’re there in the hopes that the move would be helpful for Ephraim’s father, who is unresponsive after a stroke. But for Ephraim, being in a new place where everyone seems smarter, healthier, and more talented than average just makes him feel even more sub-par than usual.

But when Crystal Springs natives Mallory and Will team up with Ephraim and his brother and sister, they embark on a search that uncovers mysterious secret passages, dusty laboratories, and curious histories. Will they be able to find the infamous Fountain of Youth before it’s too late to save Ephraim’s dad? Will the history of discord among their three families keep them from their goal? Will they ever find the truth about Crystal Springs and their families?

From the first word to the last, this book enchanted me. Blakemore spends the whole story dropping puzzle pieces that can fit together in myriad ways, then she blows your mind by leaving the ending wide, wide open for you to put the pieces together yourself. Depending on how you interpret the clues, this book could be fantasy, realistic fiction, or science fiction. No matter what genre it falls under, though, it’s one of the best children’s books I’ve read this year. ( )
  rhowens | Nov 26, 2019 |
Uuuuuuuggggghhhhh. This was a slog, and then the ending kind of stunk. Yuck. ( )
  michelleannlib | Jul 25, 2017 |
Ephraim Appledore-Smith moves to his family's ancestral home in Maine, the Water Castle, in the wake of his father's stroke. The Water Castle is a magical estate due to its "fountain of youth" on the property that is coveted by neighbors. It falls to Ephraim and his siblings to protect the Water Castle and its magical secrets from those who wish to take it from them. This chapter book would be a great reading choice for advanced elementary school students who are interested in the fantasy genre.
  rhoadesm1 | Jul 11, 2017 |
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Megan Frazer Blakemoreautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Kay, JimIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Moving into an inherited mansion in Maine with their mother and stroke-afflicted father, three siblings uncover a mystery involving hidden passageways, family rivalries, and healing waters.

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