Hamline News

Lemons: Debut from Melissa Savage, MFAC '13


Lemons by Melissa Savage
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: May 2, 2017
Children's Middle Grade, 320 pages 

Order the book from Penguin Random House 
Author Site: melissadsavage.com



What do you do when you lose everything that means anything?

Nine-year old Lemonade Liberty Witt doesn’t know the answer to that question, except what her mom taught her. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But what if those lemons are so big that you forget how?

How do you make lemonade out of having to leave everything you know in San Francisco to move to the small town of Willow Creek, California and live with a grandfather you’ve never even met? In a town that smells like grass and mud and bugs. With tall pines instead of skyscrapers and dirt instead of sidewalks. Not to mention one woolly beast lurking in the woods.

That’s right, Bigfoot.

A ginormous wooden statue of the ugly thing stands right at the center of town like he’s someone real important, like the mayor or something. And the people here actually believe he’s real and hiding somewhere out in the pine filled forests.

How can anyone possibly be expected to make lemonade out those rotten lemons?

Everything is different and Lem just wants to go back home. And then she meets Tobin Sky, the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives, Inc. and sole investigator for the town. He invites her to be his Assistant for the summer and she reluctantly agrees. At least until she can figure out her escape plan.

Together, Lem and Tobin try to capture a shot of the elusive beast on film and end up finding more than they ever could have even imagined.



The search for Bigfoot gets juicy in this funny and touching story that’s perfect for fans of Kate DiCamillo’s Flora & Ulysses and Katherine Applegate’s Crenshaw!

Lemons listed on the Independent Booksellers’ Debut Picks of the Season: Two panels of booksellers chose the Indies Introduce titles—10 adult and 10 children’s—as the best of the Winter/Spring 2017 debuts.

Debut author Savage skillfully places key trusted adults in the story to impart wisdom about grief, relationship challenges, and primate anatomy. A joyous celebration of cryptozoology, friendship, family love, and coping with loss.
—Kirkus Reviews

I love books about feisty girls and nerdy boys. Melissa Savage’s astoundingly good debut novel is packed with humor, mystery, friendship, family secrets, and even Bigfoot! I think you’ll love it, too.
—Karen Cushman, Newbery Medalist for The Midwife’s Apprentice

An enjoyable and welcome exploration of sorrow, healing, and friendship.
—School Library Journal

Savage injects enough humor, mystery, and lively interaction among the characters to give this two-hanky debut a buoyant tone.

I can’t wait to give Lemons to young readers and adults alike! Savage perfectly combines whimsy with gravity, all in a colorful historical setting. This novel will be perfect for fans of One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia and Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, by Kelly Jones.
—Johanna Albrecht, Flyleaf Books

Melissa Savage has managed to distill all of the grief of a major loss, the joy of discovery, and the fear of rebuilding into one magnificent middle-grade novel. Lemons is not to be missed.
—Molly Olivo, Barstons Child’s Play 



Melissa is currently on a national tour with Penguin Random House. Last week she was on a pre-buzz tour in San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago and this week she is in Orange County, Los Angeles and again in San Francisco for more promotional events. 

Launch Party: Saturday May 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm
Red Balloon Bookshop
891 Grand Ave., Saint Paul, MN 55101



Melissa D. Savage completed a Master’s Degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Hamline University in Minnesota in 2013. She was privileged to be able to receive guidance from amazing authors, educators, and fellow writers who shared their wisdom, experience, and support. Since then, she has been recognized for her work at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference in both the Middle Grade and Young Adult Genres. 

Melissa is a writer and a child and family therapist. Her desire to write purposeful, issue-driven books for young people, coupled with her interest in cryptozoology and the mystery of Bigfoot, inspired her to write Lemons. Melissa lives in Minneapolis. 

You can follow her on Twitter at @melissadsavage, and visit her at melissadsavage.com.