This was very cute and fun to read! I've had this on my shelf for awhile and I'm glad I finally had chance to read it. Rachel Lee is definitely not yoThis was very cute and fun to read! I've had this on my shelf for awhile and I'm glad I finally had chance to read it. Rachel Lee is definitely not your average protagonist, as she tends to make some bad decisions and she's socially awkward. Even though she is in 8th grade, she sounds younger. She definitely has a few issues that I think many middle schoolers could relate to. She didn't really have a good friend until recently, so she grew up pretty much alone, except for her parents. She had a very close relationship with her father, who was a fun-loving, carefree and - as it turns out - very immature, which I think explains why Rachel seems immature for her age. But to be honest, I don't know many 8th graders who are completely mature. She's trying to navigate the world of middle school, which is kind of a nightmare in general, with a sort of stunted sense of how to act socially . We know that a few months earlier she created a fake boyfriend and her arch nemesis called her out on it and now makes her life miserable. So she discovers some "Dirt" on them while having the humiliating job of cleaning their houses. And since she's made some other pretty bad decisions, like stealing money from her college fund to buy a plane ticket to visit her dad (who has just up and left them to start a scuba business in Florida) she has no choice but to work with her mom to try to make back the money. Things get bad, then really bad. And she's making decisions based on her emotions, which also spill out into her baking hobby. It's the classic kind of plot that many kids would be interested in. It's easy to relate to some of what Rachel is going through. And while it may not be completely realistic, it doesn't matter! This book would appeal to a wide range of readers: 5th or 6th graders looking for a "teenish" book, but with appropriate content, and 7th, 8th, even 9th graders looking for a fun read, or a high interest/lower reading level....more
I always hesitate to review audio books because I feel like it's not just the book I am reviewing, but the reading performance as well. And sometimesI always hesitate to review audio books because I feel like it's not just the book I am reviewing, but the reading performance as well. And sometimes the two do not go hand in hand. For this book, I think the actress did a good job reading, but I felt that overall the book had a slower pace and took awhile to get into. I'm not even completely sure what age/grade level I would recommend, but probably somewhere in the 6th-8th grade range. I had a lot of questions that went unanswered, but I assume those will be addressed in the rest of the series. The idea of the magic behind "Reading" was interesting, but I could have used a little more detail or background on it. It is a very dark story with some almost uncomfortable ideas of sorcery and the "binding" and slavery of other creatures (magical ones that don't "technically" exist.) Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that dark concepts should not be in children's books - it is precisely these concepts that create some of the best, in my opinion, children's and young adult literature. In the case of this book, I don't know that I felt connected enough to the characters and any redeeming qualities they might have to balance the darkness. If that makes any sense.... I would be interested to see where the rest of the series goes. ...more
I really enjoyed this story. I found it interesting to see the 1960's written from a Canadian point of view. Things weren't all that much better for MI really enjoyed this story. I found it interesting to see the 1960's written from a Canadian point of view. Things weren't all that much better for Malou in Canada, but it didn't seem to be quite as volatile as what was happening with Civil Rights in America. After a fire at the Home for Necessitous Girls, 16 year old Malou is sent off into the world with a tiny clue as to who she really is and the life-altering revelation that her parents may not actually be dead. What she finds is nothing she could have imagined. I loved the writing, very frank and to the point, like Malou herself. Unexpected plot twists, but not overly complex, interesting characters, and it was a satisfying read.
I have to say that I completely picked this book because of the cover! I was searching through my library's Axis 360 ebook YA selection and this one popped up. I quickly realized that this is not the only book in the "Secrets" series, so I am excited to read the rest of them. And we did not have any of these books in our regular YA print collection at my library, so of course I had order all of them! ...more
I love, love, LOVE this series. It has all the elements of a great (in my opinion) teen novel. Or any novel, really.
1) It's British. Need I say more?I love, love, LOVE this series. It has all the elements of a great (in my opinion) teen novel. Or any novel, really.
1) It's British. Need I say more? 2) It has ghosts. 3) It takes place in modern day, but has a throwback feel to another time - Victorianish - which is probably due to the fact that ghosts are real and becoming more and more prevalent (they also kill people) so progress has somewhat shifted to deal with the "Problem" as it is referred to. 4) The characters are completely believeable and likeable. 5) The teens in this world are powerful because only they can see the ghosts and destroy them, but the struggle with adult authority is still a major underlining theme throughout the series. 6) It has a HINT of romance - the kind that is only present in a sentence or two in each book, but then it's gone and you wonder if it was ever there at all. It grows slightly as the series goes on, but it's not at all the main theme. (To be a total nerd: it has a Mulder/Scully essence.)
If you haven't read the series, you really need to. And start at the beginning! ...more