At Yellow Lake Reviews


This is a great book! 

Armadillo Magazine:

In this edgy, menacing thriller, three teens battle for self-identity in the fearful forest of adolescence. In a canny cross-over between the wolves and bears lingering from the tales of childhood, arrive the robbers and cruelties of adult life.

Each of the three protagonists lives in a conflicted relationship with a parent, from which and from whom they feel the need to find a way out. Yet apparent escape takes them bang into the danger zones of adult life – a Coen brothers-style set of gangster bad guys, racist ‘locals,’ corrupt cops. And into a psychological landscape of hard-won self-knowledge and a growing sense of empathy.

Etta is on the run from her inadequate mother’s scary boyfriend; Peter is seeking solace in fulfilling his dead mother’s final request; Jonah is seeking his Ojibwe roots in a sympathetic natural environment of his imagination. The three characters and the three narrative strands come together in the atmospheric setting of the Yellow Lake. The reader is taken on a trail of nail-biting twists and turns, a sequence of spine-chilling near-misses before the denouement of the adventures.

At Yellow Lake is a jolly good and thought-provoking read for probably 14 plus, which may have cross-over appeal for some adult readers. In my book, it’s a winner for those who like a good story with well drawn characters and plenty of action in a haunting setting.
And as in a good fairy tale there is closure...of a sort. 

ALA Booklist Online:

Peter, 15, has left England to honor his mother’s dying wish that a lock of her hair be buried at her beloved Yellow Lake, Minnesota. Jonah, 16, has run away from home to get in touch with his Ojibwe heritage by living in a wigwam in the woods. And in the story line that brings them all together, Etta, 14, is kidnapped by her mother’s boyfriend, Kyle, who plans to silence her after she finds out about his meth lab. In a first half that recalls Brock Cole’s The Goats (1987), Peter and Etta find each other and skulk through the woods to an old cabin. But this story has a wild card: the club-wielding, loincloth-wearing Jonah, who is out to prove his bravery—even if that means facing down the baddies descending upon the cabin. By alternating the point of views, McLoughlin draws out characterizations and offers multiple interpretations of the same moments. Kyle’s ongoing rape threat feels a bit heavy for the reading level, but that won’t stop the pages turning in this sensitive yet tense thriller.— Daniel Kraus 

The Independent on Sunday:

The summer's best young-adult fiction...

In At Yellow Lake, Jane McLoughlin gathers three very different teenagers, all lost in their different ways, by a remote lake in Minnesota where criminal danger and a corrupt cop force them to grow up fast and reassess their priorities and needs. McLoughlin is skilled at maintaining the tension.


Full of tension, this is a gripping debut novel with vibrant characters caught up in a complex interweaving of stories all of which are played out on the faraway shores of Yellow Lake. Etta finds the little cabin on the shores of Yellow Lake when she runs away from her mother’s new boyfriend and his criminal habits; Peter heads for the cabin by Yellow Lake from England to fulfil his mother’s dying wish by burying a lock of her hair; Jonah is camping by the Lake to get in touch with his Native Indian roots. Each has a poignant and touching story to tell and the strong setting of Yellow Lake gives it a great sense of place.

Marie Claire On-line:

Marie Claire Online: 

Jane McLoughlin’s sparkling debut 'At Yellow Lake' is published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books… but don’t let the 'Children’s Books' part fool you. 

This rite-of-passage thriller, with its terse, uncomplicated language, will connect with readers of all ages. The classic storyline - a cabin in the woods, with enemies lurking in the shadows - is told by 3 young people whose alternative points of view reveal both their individual vulnerabilities and collective strengths.

Our Book Reviews: 

An excellent thriller read for teens who prefer their fiction set in the real world.

Kirkus Reviews:

Three contemporary teens accidentally meet at Yellow Lake in rural Wisconsin, where they share three life-changing days after witnessing a crime.

To escape her mother’s “latest crappy boyfriend,” 14-year-old Etta and her mom move to a trailer park near Yellow Lake. For Etta, the “good, safe feeling” lasts until her mom’s new boyfriend, Kyle, starts hanging around while her mom’s at work. Fifteen-year-old Peter lives in England. Shattered by his mother’s recent death, Peter surreptitiously borrows his father’s credit card and travels alone to Yellow Lake to bury a lock of her hair on the shore by the family cabin. Finally, leaving his single mother in Minneapolis because she joked about his “Indian phase,” 16-year-old Jonah randomly trespasses on land by Peter’s cabin, where he builds a wigwam and initiates a quest for his Ojibwe heritage. Subsequent events force the three to hide in the cabin, which they discover is the site of Kyle’s illegal methamphetamine operation. Told from their alternating and very diverse perspectives, the plot spins slowly, building into a suspenseful, high-action crescendo as the initially wary teens learn they can count on and even care about one another. Realistic characters, palpable fear, budding first love, and a touch of Native American ethos add to this well-crafted debut.

Once Upon A Twilight

The quest to find oneself always makes for a good story. Add in a little drama and some intense thrill, then you have yourself a great novel. At Yellow Lake has all these attributes which lends to the enriched drama displayed in the novel. The author, Jane McLoughlin does a wonderful job of showing the emotion and inter turmoil of the characters. As you read the book, you can't help but to have a sense of sympathy for the main characters. In At yellow Lake we get to know three teenagers, each dealing with their own inner demons. Each one comes from different walks of life. They come together to a place which is rooted in all them, where their lives will change forever. Having to face tragedies that no one should go through, each character struggles to find peace within their restless souls. The author has a great writing style. The character's problems are believable and could happen to anyone. This was a very intense novel that was a pleasure to read. The characters are as real as it gets and the storyline flows without a bump. In conclusion, books that make a guy feel sympathy are hard to come by. So it's impressive to find such a hard hitting novel that connects with all types of people and does just that.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on these brilliant reviews. Well deserved.