Through the Lock by Carol Otis Hurst

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Etta and her brother and sister, wards of the state of Massachusetts in 1840, have been parceled off to separate foster homes. Determined to gather her family back together and create a secure home for herself and her siblings, Etta has run away from the last in a long string of foster homes, resolved to find a place where they can live as a family. In her search, she encounters Walter, a young runaway who is hiding out from his alcoholic father in a cabin on the New Haven and Northampton Canal.
Before she can get her own family together, Etta gets caught up in Walter’s problems, which include the transportation of a body up a mountain in the dead of night, convincing the canal company to hire them as a security team, and catching the vandals who are determined to sabotage the canal.

About Carol Otis Hurst

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Carol Otis Hurst has authored several novels for young adults, including Through the Lock, In Plain Sight, and A Killing in Plymouth Colony, in addition to her many professional books for teachers and librarians. A former teacher and librarian herself, Carol Otis Hurst is the columnist for Teaching K8 Magazine and conducts workshops on storytelling and children's literature around the country. She is the mother of two daughters and grandmother of two grandsons. She lives in Westfield, Massachusetts.
Published April 23, 2001 by HMH Books for Young Readers. 172 pages
Genres: Action & Adventure, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Through the Lock

Kirkus Reviews

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A runaway orphan’s search for a settled home ends along the banks of a newly-constructed Connecticut canal in this early-19th-century adventure, loosely based on Hurst’s own family history.

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Publishers Weekly

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The foreshadowing is heavy, and some of the plot points move too quickly (in the course of one chapter, for instance, Etta meets Walter's drunken father, then finds him dead, then helps Walter transport the corpse to the church for burial).

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Etta's latest foster situation is miserable and she runs away, hoping to find some way to reunite her family under one roof.

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