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Excerpt from Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Saving Montgomery Sole

by Mariko Tamaki

Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki X
Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2016, 240 pages

    Apr 2017, 256 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Bradley Sides
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About this Book

Print Excerpt


I used to have a T-shirt that had the words NEVER STOP EXPLORING on it.

On the front was a starry moonlit sky with puffy text across the belly. On the back was a tiny ship floating into what I imagined to be an endless night.

When I was in fourth grade, I wore the shirt to show-and-tell. I said it was my favorite because it had "a moon" on it.

Some kid at the back of the room shouted out, "The moon."

"Duh," I said. "There's more than one."

I got a time-out. Because it's not nice to say "duh." Even though I was right. It is "a moon," which I knew back then and know now. The universe is really big. There's more than just the one moon that happens to hang over the teeny-tiny town of Aunty, California, where I live. Have lived. For what feels like forever.

Although Mama Kate says everything feels like forever when you're sixteen.

* * *

It was a crispy but sunny fall afternoon in Aunty. Outside, I could see the shadow of a day moon hanging like an idea in the blue sky. The clock at the front of the clubs room, also Mrs. Dawson's classroom, ticked to 3:31, and I called the meeting of the Jefferson High Mystery Club, Jefferson's smallest student organization, to order.

"Okay," I said, dumping my knapsack on Mrs. Dawson's desk. "Let's do this."

"Right!" Thomas settled his bag on a chair. "Meeting to order!" he boomed. "Members Thomas Masters, Naoki Wood, and Chair Montgomery Sole presiding."

"Thank you, Thomas," I said, pulling a cardboard box out of my bag and balancing it on my hand like a tray of drinks. "Thanks for making me a chair."

"Anytime," Thomas said.

"What am I?" Naoki chirped from her perch by the window.

Thomas paused and tapped his chin. "The lamp," he said.

"I love Mondays," Naoki sighed. "Mystery Club is the best."

The official purpose of the Mystery Club, as listed on Jefferson High's hideous garbage-bag-green website, isFan Club, Literary. Which I'm sure is because Mr. Grate, the vice principal, in charge of clubs, teams, and overall student welfare, thinks the Mystery Club is for people who read mystery novels.

The actual purpose of the Mystery Club is to examine unexplained phenomena, curiosities, and other subjects the members consider to be interesting.

Most students at Jefferson High care about things that are the opposite of interesting, such as celebrity weddings, lip gloss, and expensive cars. These things seem interesting, and people obsess about them, but really, if you think of it, stuff like this is not even curious. No one cares about celebrity weddings from twenty years ago. Because they're just … weddings. A boring person, in lip gloss or a great car, is still boring.

Compare that with black holes, telekinesis, or spontaneous combustion. Spontaneous combustion. No matter when it happened, and to who, it's always interesting.

When Thomas and I started the Mystery Club two years ago, before Naoki came to Jefferson, Madison Marlow started a rumor that we were devil worshippers obsessed with aliens.

First of all, kind of a leap between the devil and aliens from outer space.

Second of all, we are neither.

We are examiners of the unknown, Naoki will often say. Voyagers.

Turning, I grabbed a piece of chalk with my free hand and wrote Remote Viewing on the chalkboard.

"Remote viewing," I began, swiveling back to the classroom, "is based on the idea that we—all of us—have the ability to see beyond time and space. Yes, Naoki? You don't have to raise your hand."

Naoki dropped her hand into her lap. "I was going to ask, um, could it be possible with this technique to see into the past?"

"Yah," I said. "Like, you know, in ideal circumstances, our mind's eye can see anything, anywhere."

Excerpted from Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki. Copyright © 2016 by Mariko Tamaki. Excerpted by permission of Roaring Brook Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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