Finding Fortune

“Ray expertly incorporates the forgotten history of shell harvesting towns along the Mississippi in an absorbing and well-written story that recalls Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn Dixie.”

Publishers Weekly

Running away from home isn't as easy as Ren thinks it will be. At least she isn't running very far—just a few miles to the ghost town of Fortune . . . or Mis-Fortune as everyone else calls it. Mis-Fortune on the Mississippi. Supposedly, there's an abandoned school on the outskirts with cheap rooms for rent. Ren knows her plan sounds crazy. But with only a few more weeks until Dad comes home from his tour of duty in Afghanistan, she also knows she has to do something drastic so Mom will come to her senses and stop seeing that creep Rick Littleton for good.

From the moment she enters the school's shadowy halls, Ren finds herself drawn into its secrets. Every night old Mrs. Baxter, the landlady, wanders the building on a mysterious quest. What could she be up to? And can Mrs. Baxter's outlandish plan to transform the gym into a pearl-button museum ever succeed? With a quirky new friend named Hugh at her side, Ren sets out to solve the mystery that could save Fortune from fading away. But what about her family's future? Can that be saved too?


“Ren as narrator is appealing: pragmatic, smart, and candid. Ray’s narrative is rich and diverting, full of real history and a complex story for each character, and she adroitly gathers all the threads together…. Like its protagonist, full of heart.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“The mystery is a satisfying one, filled with dead ends, scary moments, and surprising plot twists. However, it’s the relationships between the characters that make this story memorable. Hildy holds her dwindling town together, even when things seem to be falling apart; on the brink of young adulthood, Ren learns to face her own fortune with reflection and grace. And one thing is for sure: buttons will never look quite so insignificant again.”
—The Horn Book

“Ren’s confusion over her parents’ troubled relationship is lovingly handled through Ray’s whimsical characters and heartfelt moments between Ren and her mother.”
—Publishers Weekly