Autry, aged 13, and Oxana, aged 11, are brother and sister who have been forced to travel with their father, Owen Quinn, to spend Thanksgiving with their grandfather, the Captain, in the old ghost town of Girouette, Montana. Bored out of their skulls, after their father suffers a stroke and is hospitalized, they’re left with their grandfather and nothing to do but explore the town.
Next Christmas in Girouette by Michael Welch is the first in a series of YA novels about the strange town, and a 60-year-old mystery that has left the six ‘diehard’ residents of Girouette believing in ‘Santy’ Claus. Young and old alike will enjoy Autry and Oxana’s adventures as they get to know the town’s oddball inhabitants, and learn that the true meaning of Christmas is not how many presents you get, but the relationships that you form.
Although the book is intended for a young audience, it’s a story that the whole family can read and enjoy. Although this is a Christmas story that I should have reviewed in December, its late appearance is entirely my fault for putting it too late in my queue to review. Nevertheless, it’s a good story any time of the year, and I give it four stars.