So sorry about the confusion in the posting earlier. For a quick re-cap go here or just know that I'll be posting a book review for each day of our Summer Reading programs at the library. We're back on track now with book #2.
Author: Natalie Standiford
Age Range: 8-12
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Cover score: ***
First Sentence: Ghosts can live anywhere.
Voodoo curses, a Man-Bat, a missing cat, The Witch Lady, and a
strange boy who lives in an abandoned model home; these are just a few
of the mysteries Minty encounters the summer just before she turns
eleven. Add to that a best friend who doesn't feel so 'best' most of
the time, constant tormenting by the Mean Boys, and anxieties about
starting middle school and Minty's life is in constant disarray.
At first she and Paz (the BFF) are preoccupied by their obsessions
with roller derby, practicing new moves and routines in every spare
minute. But when a mysterious prowler leads Minty on a chase through
the woods she finds a hollow tree with a scrap of paper in it. And on
that paper is written a secret. A secret that will change Minty's life
The prowler turns out to be just a kid, Raymond, who lives alone in the
model home next door to The Witch Lady. Together Raymond and Minty compile of book of
photos of everyone in the neighborhood and additional secrets they
continue to find in the tree, matching each person to their secret after
spying on them. Paz can't be bothered with childish games and abandons
Minty for the older, more mature Isabelle, leaving Minty hurt and
confused. Raymond has more than his share of secrets and Minty wonders
if she's the only one who isn't hiding something.
Their snooping leads to a few misunderstandings but ultimately the truth outs and all is well.
Here's a sample of the text:
next day, my life was one sentence different than it had been the day
before. I kept looking at people I was used to seeing every day, and I
wondered whether they felt that nobody loved them except their goldfish.
Or if they were international spies. (pg 31)
"Bring your harmonica over next time and we can play together."
"I don't have a harmonica."
"Too bad," Raymond said. "Everybody needs a harmonica. It's like a little pocket friend. Goes wherever you go." (pg 99)
(**How could I not mention the harmonicas?!)
I was learning this thing about secrets: Even if they're not about you, once you know them, they feel like they could be about you. Every secret connects to something inside of you, whether you know it at first or not. (pg 148)
I was reminded of more than one book while reading this one...