Joy and Lukas from Seven Clues to Home Interview with Patrick Andrus

Last year, 12-year-old Joy Fonseca and her best friend, Lukas Brunetti of Port Bennington, Long Island sat down with Mr. Patrick Andrus in his 4th grade classroom in Independent School District 272 Eden Prairie, Minnesota to answer a few questions about the new middle grade novel, Seven Clues to Home.




What Mr. Andrus didn’t know at the time– because who would?– was that he was actually speaking with the fictional characters themselves.

Their conversation is transcribed below:




Mr. Andrus: How did you come to know Joy and Lukas?


JOY (smiling widely): What? We’ve known each other since 2nd grade!


LUKAS (looking down, self consciously): Cupcakes.


Mr. Andrus: What do you think are their most admirable qualities?


JOY (blushing): Well, Lukas is my best friend.


 LUKAS (blushing): Joy is the first person who got thatI wasn’t like everyone thought I was.


Mr. Andrus: Is there anything you wish they would have changed or done differently in their story?


JOY (holding back tears, stays silent)


LUKAS: I should have paid better attention. I should have . . . (shakes his head, stops talking)


Mr. Andrus: What do you think they can offer to other children that are experiencing similar situations to what they went through? 


 JOY: (shrugs) Don’t judge a book by its cover?


LUKAS: I just want people to know what a good friend Joy is. The kind that makes everything better and different.


Mr. Andrus: How did you research Joy and Lukas and the circumstances they found themselves in?


JOY: I just listened. 


LUKAS: Me? I know this town like the back of my hand. I did have to keep asking my teacher over and over about the Birthday Paradox, though. That one is kinda hard to explain.




Mr. Andrus: Do you and these characters share any similarities?  


JOY: Everything!


LUKAS: Everything!



Mr. Andrus: Who do you think are their biggest supporters and why?


JOY:  My family, Mom, and my dad, Natalia, Davy, and Izzie.


LUKAS: Joy. Kinda duh. Sorry.


Mr. Andrus: Do you think a boy and a girl are able to be friends?


JOY (too quickly): Of course.


LUKAS (thinking for a minute): I guess, sometimes it can be hard. But, also, really not so hard at all.

JOY & LUKAS (speaking at the same time): Totally worth it.





“A heartfelt tour de force” Kirkus


“I truly loved it! Baskin and Polisner seamlessly unfold one touching relationship after another in this gorgeous story about everlasting friendship. This tender tale is indelibly etched on my heart.” –Leslie Connor, author of the National Book Award finalist The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle


“Polisner and Baskin’s brief tale of two quite distant friends magically manages to bridge an uncrossable gap. Seven Clues to Home is both a charming mystery and a real meditation on the complexities of the young heart in love.” –Tony Abbott, Edgar Award-winning author of Firegirl and The Great Jeff


“I read this whole book with a lump in my throat. A perfect gem.” –Wendy Mass, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Bob




Nora Raleigh Baskin is the American Library Association Schneider Family Book Award-winning author of Anything but Typical. She was chosen as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start author for her novel What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows, and has since written a number of novels for middle graders and teens, including The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah, The Summer Before Boys, and  an IRA Notable Book for a Global Society for Ruby on the Outside. And most recently, Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story, which received starred reviews from both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. She has also written a number of personal narrative essays. Visit her at .


Gae Polisner is a lawyer by trade, but a writer by calling. Her books have received multiple awards including a Bank Street Best, Pennsylvania School Library award, multiple Nerdy Book Club awards, and a Golden Archer, Wisconsin’s Children’s Choice Award. Her bestselling book, THE MEMORY OF THINGS is used in schools around the country. Gae lives on Long Island with her husband, two musical sons, and a suspiciously-fictional looking dog. When she isn’t writing, you can find her in a pool or the open waters off Long Island. She has swum a 10K and holds out hope that one day her wetsuit will morph her into a superhero. You can learn more about her at


Gae and Nora would like to cordially invite educators and librarians to join the FaceBook group  SEVEN CLUES TO LIBRARY LOVE with special swag and tons of interactive online activities.



Special shout out to Mr. Patrick Andrus for hosting this interview in his beautiful classroom of books!  You can find him at