The novel “Echo Mountain” by Lauren Wolk follows a young girl by the name of Ellie. She and her family are forced to move to the mountains of Maine after the Great Depression hits. While she and her father love life on the mountain, her mother and elder sister can’t wait to move off. Their old lifestyle is important to them and it was difficult to let go throughout the story. Her younger brother, Samuel, is indifferent. They make quick friends with their neighbors and begin to have a normal routine in the mountains. Until her father falls into a coma after saving his child from being struck by a tree that he had cut down. And Ellie has taken the blame.
The author provides a well thought out and interesting plot while creating a lifelike experience by using language and common ideas from the time period. It explains how the Great Depression affected everyone differently from having to trade personal possessions to losing almost everything. The author subtly and thoughtfully adds hints and clues to the end of the book and added plot twists. Each chapter leaves the reader thinking about what Ellie’s next move will be.
A figure that lurks in the woods carves small animals and people and hides them on Ellie and her family’s property for her to find. He is later identified as Larkin and holds important pieces on information that will lead Ellie to a solution to wake her father once and for all.
Each character has a different and unique personality which creates disagreements between them and thickens the plot. As Ellie makes her way creating a brew to wake her father to trying to find Larkin, she is able to discover her place on the mountain. She discovers new people that are critical to her finding a solution to wake her father.
Each basic element of this novel is well thought out and developed. The overall storyline is well fit for those who enjoy adventure and bits of historical fiction. It is a great read, perfect for middle school students.