Now that my local library is (partially) open again, I got this middle grade book on a whim!
In Nessie Quest by Melissa Savage, Ada Ru Fitzhugh expects to go to Disney World this summer, but is told that instead, her parents are taking her to Scotland so her father can teach a summer course at university there. Ada Ru is not thrilled, especially when she hears there is a monster living in the loch. However, as she makes new friends and learns about this new place, she discovers that maybe her summer isn’t ruined after all.
This was a fairly cute, if slightly predictable, story. I enjoyed the glimpse into Scottish life, but the characters other than the main three seemed very one-note, and often stereotypical. I also dislike having to read dialogue that is spelled to emphasize the dialect, so this on top of the already unfamiliar Scottish colloquialisms made my experience reading this a little difficult.
I liked Ada Ru well enough; she is a sweet protagonist with a good narrative voice. The other main characters, Hammy Bean and Dax, were fun and had some good character development of their own. However, as I mentioned, the others weren’t that interesting or well-rounded.
I did like the emphasis on representing a character with blindness though; it was moving to see the author’s end note about growing up with her mother, who dealt with blindness. I enjoyed learning a bit about how people like Hammy Bean live.
While the adventure was fun and a good lesson about the power of words, I wish (*slight spoiler*) that we could have had more focus on Nessie herself and gotten to see her. I thought this was going to be a lot more fantasy than it was; it’s much more realistic than that, and for me that was a bit of a let down.
Also, there were a couple elements I found very unbelievable. Ada Ru’s father grew up in this area, and yet apparently never mentioned the Loch Ness Monster to his daughter. Hmm. Furthermore, I have no idea why a person would prefer going to Disney World over the Scottish Highlands, but that’s just me.
In the end, Nessie Quest didn’t live up to my expectations, but was still an entertaining enough romp in Scotland for kids.
Overall rating: 7/10