Happy Book Birthday!
This one is a page-turner. My advance reading copy clocks in at 465 pages of a mystery. This is long for a middle-grade book, but I believe that kids will devour it and that this will end up being a big hit. It would make an excellent movie. I wish I had received an actual book because this is the kind of book that I would keep on my shelf to loan out.
Ok, so enough amping up, here’s the set up: Lenora (age 12) is the sole surviving member of her family after an explosion in her Texas town. Her parents and siblings are declared dead, and the police contact her Uncle Richard, who she has never met. He brings her to her ancestral family’s mansion. All we know is that Uncle Richard is some Scientist and he works in the East Wing (where she is not allowed to go). In a way, the house reminded me of a bit of the house in The Secret Garden. Lenora is also forbidden from playing in the surrounding woods.
Of course, she does go into the woods (would it be magical realism if she didn’t?) and then things happen. I won’t tell you what. This is the kind of book that you want to read quickly to find out what happens and slowly so that it doesn’t end all at once. I’d hand this to kids from the fifth grade on up through the high school.