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The Last Treasure: 03/19/20
The Last Treasure by Janet S. Anderson is a middle grade novel about two children who are the last hope for a family to hold onto their multigenerational home. Jess and Ellsworth aka Zee are the youngest members of Smith Mills square — thirteen homes, a field and a pond. They must solve the mystery of the third and final treasure in an abandoned home on the property to keep everyone in their homes.
While Jess has been living with her grandmother for some time in a home along the square, Zee and his dad have lived a few states away in an old motel. When the letter comes asking for help, Zee is compelled to go, even if it means riding alone on a bus.
The situation with the Smith family reminds me of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. This is another family home (or compound) that is at the end of its line. The difference here is that the youngest generation is willing to help the older generation to preserve the home, and the older generations are willing to accept said help after decades of inaction.
The family dynamics, though, especially the reoccurrence of twins, also brings to mind The Ghost Road by Charis Cotter (2018). The difference, though, is the lack of a curse. Some of the Smiths believe in a curse but it's been borne out of bad luck and misunderstanding of the final clues.
The puzzle of the last treasure hidden away in an abandoned house can be mapped on the road narrative spectrum. There are two different groups of travelers, however both groups are in the same category. The initial travelers are the young cousins who work as a platonic couple (33). Ultimately the task of solving the mystery becomes a family affair.
Their goal or destination is uhoria (CC). First it's understanding the clues of a puzzle that's more than a hundred years old. Second it's the saving of the family property for the future.
Their route is the cornfield (FF), or tkaronto, as represented by the pond in the center of the family compound. The last clue is a painting of the homes surrounding the pond. The painting as described sounds so wonderful and I wish the cover art was a better representation of it.
Summarized, The Last Treasure is about a family traveling though uhoria via the cornfield (33CCFF) to save their family home.