G.P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin Young Readers Group), February 2017
Desperate to get away from their drunkard of a father, eleven-year-old Jasper and his older brother Melvin often talk of running away, of heading north to Alaska to chase riches beyond their wildest dreams. The Klondike Gold Rush is calling, and Melvin has finally decided the time to go is now—even if that means leaving Jasper behind. But Jasper has other plans and follows his brother aboard a steamer as a stowaway.
Onboard the ship, Jasper hears a rumor about One-Eyed Riley, an old coot who’s long since gone, but is said to have left clues to the location of his stake, which still has plenty of gold left. The first person to unravel the clues and find the mine can stake the claim and become filthy rich. Jasper is quick to catch gold fever and knows he and Melvin can find the mine—all they have to do is survive the rough Alaskan terrain, along with the steep competition from the unscrupulous and dangerous people they encounter along the way.
In an endearing, funny, pitch-perfect middle grade voice, Caroline Starr Rose tells another stellar historical adventure young readers will long remember.
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Awards and Accolades
Praise for Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine
Jasper narrates in the present tense, his homespun voice evoking both emotion and adventure. Villains and allies provide colorful melodrama, but it’s the brothers’ struggle to survive the Yukon wilderness with its harsh beauty and unforgiving cold that will keep readers entranced.
Jasper’s voice and Caroline Starr Rose’s writing style brought her characters alive, bursting with warmth and spirit. The rich details and historically accurate setting took me back to the era of the Gold Rush.
— Terry Lynn Johnson, author of Ice Dogs and Falcon Wild
Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine takes two brothers and plunks them right into a hair-raising journey to the goldfields of Canada. It’s a rollicking adventure, warm and funny, chockablock with bad guys and good guys, mysteries and deceptions, dangers and disasters. With courage and persistence, Melvin and the delightful Jasper discover the true meaning of riches, friendship, and family. It’s a rip-roaring tale and a romping good read. Try to resist!
— Newbery Award-winning author, Karen Cushman
The dreams and dangers of the 1897 Klondike gold rush fuel Rose’s first novel in prose, and it’s a rousing historical adventure…Rose’s carefully plotted clues, along with colorful supporting characters and narrow escapes, keep the pace brisk until Jasper finds Riley’s mine in a suspenseful climax. Complementing a narrative rich in details about life on the frontier, the author’s note provides more intriguing facts, including profiles of characters in the book who were true historical figures. VERDICT Highly recommended for fans of adventure and historical fiction, or as a classroom read-aloud.
— School Library Journal
Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine is action, history, survival, and the bond of brotherhood all rolled into one…Caroline Starr Rose’s use of first person point of view allows us to experience the quest for gold and freedom through the eyes and mind of an eleven-year-old boy from a small northwest town. Jasper’s emotions become the reader’s emotions and we are drawn along with him through hope, despair, desperation, and perseverance, to a climactic end that strikes all the right chords.
— Barnes and Noble Kids Blog