Fearless Joe Dearborne, by Lisa Whitney Mitchell is that book.
Joe Dearborne is my hero! At the tender age of ten, Joe already has more courage and integrity than most people twice his age! This is a delightfully inspiring story, full of adventure, excitement and chills! Joe proves himself to be a reluctant hero, continually fighting his internal self-doubt, which leads him to test his bravery in sometimes foolish ways. As he moves through his trials, he forgets to be brave and simply does what needs doing, and ultimately redefines for himself his own idea of what it means to be fearless.
I am long-past ten years old, but I found myself glued to the storyline, unable (and unwilling) to put it down. Each chapter flowed easily into the next with little or no irrelevant or tedious content. The dialog between the characters is perfectly age-appropriate, witty and succinct.
Children from age 8-12 should love this story. It is full of suspense and excitement, but also provides well-disguised learning opportunities, which should please parents as well. There are some fairly advanced words throughout the story, but the author takes the time to define them in the context of the book, thereby making their meaning clear to the reader, while not interfering with the smooth flow of the story. I simply can't say enough good things about this wonderful debut novel. Lisa Whitney Mitchell has come out fearlessly, treating us all to what could become an iconic novel!