Hour of the Bees, Lindsay Eagar
Magical realism (realistic fiction with a hint of fantasy)
Twelve-year-old Carolina would rather be anywhere else. Her friends are going to camp and having sleepovers and hanging out without her, while Carol has to spend her summer in the middle of nowhere, New Mexico, with her grandfather, who she’s never met. Her parents have decided it’s time to move him into a home, and they’re bringing the whole family to help clean and the ranch.
Between taking care of her younger brother, being ignored by her older sister, and sweating the days away in her grandpa’s unairconditioned house, Carol is desperately miserable and extremely bored. But when she starts talking to her grandfather, she finds herself fascinated by his strange stories. He tells her about his childhood, when the land looked very different: when there was a lake, and a tree with healing powers, and bees who carried the lake away, drop by drop, and who will one day bring it back. Of course all of this is impossible.
As the summer wears on, Carolina falls in love with the land her parents are about to sell. And as she starts to believe that the stories might be true, she’ll take enormous risks to protect it.