The Light in the Lake

by Sarah R. Baughman
September 2019 – Little, Brown (US)

A moving, page-turning debut novel about grief, family, the possibility of magic, and the beauty of science.

Twelve-year-old Addie should stay away from Maple Lake. After all, her twin brother, Amos, drowned there only a few months ago. But its crisp, clear water runs in Addie’s veins, and the notebook Amos left behind—filled with clues about a mysterious creature that lives in the lake’s inky-blue depths—keeps calling her back.

So despite her parents’ fears, Addie accepts a Young Scientist position studying the lake for the summer, promising she’ll stick to her job of measuring water pollution levels under adult supervision. Still, Addie can’t resist the secrets of Maple Lake. She enlists the lead researcher’s son, Tai, to help her investigate Amos’s clues. As they collect evidence, they also learn that Maple Lake is in trouble—and the source of the pollution might be close to home. Addie finds herself caught between the science she has always prized and the magic that brings her closer to her brother, and the choice she makes will change everything.

While exploring themes of grief and loss, the plot sees the main character exploring her passion for science while also introducing interesting scientific concepts in an accessible way within an engaging story, as in other successful MG titles such as The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin or When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.

Sarah R. Baughman is a former middle and high school English teacher who now works as an educational consultant and author. She graduated from Grinnell College and the University of Michigan, then went on to teach English overseas in three different countries. After spending a number of years in rural northeastern Vermont, she recently moved back to Michigan with her husband and their two children.