Clara Poole and the Long Way Round
Release date: July 4, 2023
Middle Grade (Ages 8-12)
Mr. Lemoncello meets the Amazing Race in this quirky high-octane balloon-racing middle grade around-the-world adventure.
When an unintended flight over Michigan in her class science project—a lawn chair held aloft by balloons—brings her instant celebrity, Clara Poole is invited to be the spokesperson for a round-the-world adventure race. But when her overprotective father refuses, Clara forges his signature in a moment of defiance and runs away to Paris to take her place in the skies. If only she’d read the fine print first.
Partnered with a veteran aeronaut who wants nothing to do with her, Clara faces down ten treacherous stages in a race around the world—capturing flags in the perilous mountains of Nepal; being a guest of honor at a maybe-wedding in the Saharan desert; flying through rings of fire in Hong Kong—all while learning the ropes alongside a colorful cast of international competitors.
But there are more dangers ahead. Someone is trying to sabotage the competition. And surviving this race means Clara must come to terms with the tragedy that set her fleeing to the skies in the first place, and accepting that forgiving herself isn’t a process she has to undertake alone.
Gorgeous prose and winning characters combine in this quirky, often-hilarious, sometimes heart-breaking, and thoroughly captivating middle grade adventure series starter from an incredible new talent.