A fast-paced, enjoyable, contemporary fantasy that upper middle graders will truly enjoy!
Martin is a strong, determined teen who was sent to live with...moreA fast-paced, enjoyable, contemporary fantasy that upper middle graders will truly enjoy!
Martin is a strong, determined teen who was sent to live with his mother's cousin while she's deployed. Martin does his best to stay out of his "Aunt" Michele's way, and tries to get by on her strict regimes of eating healthy and living life to their full "brain-power" potential. He's a runner and trains as often as he can, determined to complete any marathon as long as his mother can do it with him. On his first run through Lower Brynwood aka Deadwood, he runs into a group of people performing a school ritual on a tree. He is angered that they've been damaging this poor tree for many years and tries to stop it - but what can one little teen do against a whole high school football team? After they're done, Martin is left alone with the tree and meets Hannah. Hannah is a tomboyish girl who has lived in Lower Brynwood her whole life and knows all about the Spirit Tree and most of what happens in the town. While they're standing under the tree, an unexpected storm drops in and lightening hits the tree. While they stare at the tree and watch it light up from the inside, the carvings start to light up, letter by letter, delivering a message to them. An unbelievable scary message - the town is cursed.
Against their will, Martin and Hannah team up to figure out the Spirit Tree's message, why its dying? Why are there other trees in the town are dying too? Why is the town and its occupants are cursed?
The story is told from three different perspectives, Martin's, Hannah's and the Spirit Tree. Reading from the tree's perspective was extremely interesting, it gives insight to how a tree would view its surroundings and history. I really enjoyed that aspect a lot.
The perfect blend of relatable contemporary, supernatural elements, mystery and environmental awareness - an amazing middle grade book for all ages to read!
(I received this paperback from the publisher for an honest review. My thoughts are my own.)(less)
At the very start of the story we get a peek of a couple, where one is trying to stay away from the other and the other is trying just as hard to be w...moreAt the very start of the story we get a peek of a couple, where one is trying to stay away from the other and the other is trying just as hard to be with that one... but I'll come back to the first chapter in a bit. Luce Price has arrives at Sword & Cross, a reform school for troublesome teens, and instantly knows that this school isn't like any other school, reform or not, this is a school that she could never have imagined existing. Such a dark, unwelcoming and prison-like place, where contact with the outside world is only allowed in 5 minute weekly phone calls, their uniform is to wear all black and there are security cameras everywhere to monitor your every move. Everything seems hopeless and depressing to Luce until she sees Daniel. The moment her eyes land on Daniel, she is instantly drawn to him and wants to run to him, but why the instant connection? Why does Daniel seem so familiar and comforting to her... and when Daniel wants nothing to do with her and goes out of his way to make sure that she knows he has no interest it only increases Luce's curiosity to find out why he pushes her away and what secrets Daniel may be hiding. The mystery surrounding Luce and Daniel's pasts is consuming. A page-turner right from the start. We meet other students, Luce's new friends, Daniel's old friends, and at first I just wanted to dismiss them and wished that the story would just concentrate on their relationship. But as time goes on, these other characters play major roles in both of their lives. Not one person can be dismissed nor forgotten. Little by little, we find out why Luce was sent to Sword & Cross, what she can see, what her story is. We also find out why Daniel is so desperate to stay away from Luce. Daniel's story is heart breaking and you cannot help fall for for Daniel and want to hug him too. In the end, we finally hear the whole story that connects Daniel and Luce together... forever! because true love cannot be denied! I did find that the book was a bit choppy at times because it doesn't go into great details that I would have liked to have seen. But it doesn't keep the story from flowing. We are learning and experiencing everything as Luce is and I really liked that the author followed through with that.
Now, let's get back to that first chapter! It's titled, In The Beginning and takes place in England, 1854. There are no names, the characters are referred to as "He" and "She". She is drawn to him everyday. He tries to stay away, but has a hard time doing so. He comforts himself by drawing pictures of her, it's obvious that he cares for her deeply. She doesn't know how or why, but she knows that she loves him and wants to be with him and makes it impossible for him to not cave in to her. And then he doesn't... They have their moment and we are left with a huge, oh my god! What just happened?! and of course, you need to know why. I really loved how the first chapter just draws you in by giving us a sort of tease... I have a huge soft spot for forbidden love. (less)