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Circle of Secrets

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  637 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
Critically acclaimed author Kimberley Griffiths Little weaves a haunting story of friendship and family and the power of faith, once again set against the lush backdrop of the Lousiana bayou.

After her mother walked out on Shelby Jayne and her dad, Shelby thought she'd never speak to her mamma again. But with her dad leaving the country for work, it turns out she doesn't ha
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Scholastic Press
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Kimberley Little
Mar 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
It's kind of strange to mark your own book as "Read". Yep, read many, many times! The basic premise of CIRCLE OF SECRETS came from one of my very first "practice" novels written about 15 years ago. I completely rewrote it, set it in the lush Louisiana bayous, added a mysterious charm bracelet, a quirky mamma, a blue bottle tree, and a brush of magic! My nieces and nephews and sons all begged me to publish this book 15 years ago - and finally it's here - enjoy!
Meagan Spooner
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I don't normally write reviews, but I'm still thinking about this book weeks after I read it.

I read the whole book in one sitting, unable to put it down. Shelby is a beautifully drawn character placed in an unforgettable setting, and the story of her and her estranged mother is just heart-wrenching. The mysteries Shelby encounters throughout the story are engrossing, and exactly the sort of things that would have fascinated me, if I were in Shelby's place. Strange messages in bottles, a ruined h
Theresa Milstein
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I was a lucky winner of an ARC of this book.

Just like I had to compare Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord to her first book, Rules. I have to compare Kimbereley Griffiths Little's Circle of Secrets to The Healing Spell.

The Healing Spell had personal meaning for me because I had a strained relationship with my mother and she spent time in a coma. I'd never read a book about a parent in a coma before. Because of my childhood experience, the book moved me even more deeply. But even without that connection
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Another phenomenal book by Kimberly Griffiths Little . Circle of Secrets had me crying from beginning to end. Kimberly Little once again reveals an amazing insight into the complexities of Mother / Daughter relationships and the overwhelming power of trust and forgiveness in healing emotional hurts and wounds.

Circle of Secrets shows an astonishing insight into the mind of a child caught in the wake of matrimonial discord. After Shelby's mother walks out on her family, Shelby is left with heart-
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of Kimberley's writing. She has such a way with words that every page feels as deep and as rich as biting into fine chocolate. Circle of Secrets is no exception. I enjoyed the texture of the setting and the innocence of the character. This was a haunting tale of friendship, forgiveness, and letting go of the past. Loved it.
May 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
Kimberley Griffiths Little just has a way of pulling her readers into her stories! I was instantly drawn into this magical story of healing and loss. I loved “The Healing Spell”, but I may actually love this one more! Everything is nicely tied together in the ending and I love the blue bottle tree and it’s meaning throughout the story. I am so excited to read more from this author!
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very engaging, tone-wise, and a good walk-through of the feelings of betrayal you experience when a parent leaves. Love the setting as well.
Cindy Hudson
Nov 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
When Shelby Jayne’s mamma, Mirage, left their family, Shelby swore she’d never forgive her. Now it’s a year later, and because her father will be out of the country working for six months and her grandmother recovering from hip surgery, Shelby finds herself deep in the swamps of Louisiana on Mirage’s doorstep with a suitcase in hand.

She’s not interested in Mirage’s reasons for leaving or in her box of recipes for healing spells, but she is drawn to the blue-bottle tree in the backyard. The tree
Ms. Yingling
May 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelby is angry at everyone. Her father, because he's going away and can't leave her with her grandmother, who is in the hospital. Her mother, who walked away from the family a year ago. The new students in her school who slyly taunt her. Shelby's mother is a healer and her house is in the swamp, so her new classmates have plenty of ammunition to tease her. When Shelby meets Gwen, she is relieved to have someone to talk to, but she's concerned because Gwen's parents are missing and she is stayin ...more
May 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars...
Last year I read one of the most incredible books, called The Healing Spell. It had such charm and substance to the story, and was based in the bayou of Louisiana. The story was full of strong characters and Cajun magic. Kimberley's newest book, Circle of Secrets, is no different. It also has that magical feel to the story; this time it includes ghosts, real and figuratively. Though there is a feeling of awe and mystery concerning the ghost, there is nothing there that would scare
Keli Wright
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I found this book on the coffee table, while I was baby-sitting for Tessa.. Tessa is 8. This book was published by Scholastic.. I thought I KNOW this is a kid's book and I know I have already read a LOT of kid's books this year.. BUT I felt like I had to read this one.. it just looked so fun. I went home and I googled some information about it and found out the author is LDS!!!! even better.. I loved the book, the story, the characters and had a lot of fun reading it.. and I know that if I was a ...more
Amy Bartelloni
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My 11 year old daughter has read this so many times that we've had to tape the pages together! She finally got me to read it and I'm so glad I did. I love a good spooky story. The characters were believable and easy to relate to, even the adults. A lot of times in middle grade I find the adult characters one dimensional, as if they're just there for decoration, but in this case the parents had their own struggles that were fully flushed out but not thrown in your face. I loved how she made the s ...more
Debbie Graham
May 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Ya'll, this was a bit of an etouffee of issues; family disintegration, intergenerational conflicts, bullying etc etc (not wanting to give spoilers here). The start was a bit slow but then the drama makes up for it, and (strong) 4th grade and up readers will really enjoy it, I think. Unless they see through the plot twists early on... Note there are no significant young male characters. I don't like the title though even though upon conclusion it smacks you with all sorts of significance. I would ...more
Shanshad Whelan
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, childrens, mg
A nicely written little ghost story set in the Louisiana bayou. While the paranormal thread runs through the story and ultimately creates the pivot point for the main character, the majority of the tale is grounded in real-world family schisms and one preteen's effort to struggle through her emotions and find a way to reconcile her life and family.
May 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-read, pajama-book, ya
She does it again with an awesome, heart wrenching story about love, loss, the strength in family, and most of all hope for a better tomorrow. Thank you so much for sharing your gift with us! Loved it, loved it, loved it! Can't wait to share with my students!
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-books, i-cried
dont let Jenna touch it though
she said she read it
back off
this is mine
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
his companion book to The Healing Spell is as enchanting as its predecessor. Beautifully written, the author paints a vivid picture of life in the bayou where anything--including....(click here for the full review
Wonderful, magical, deep, and rich. Kimberley paints a vivid picture of the Bayou and magic left behind when things are left unsaid. When 11 year-old Shelby plucks a note from a blue bottle tree, she opens the way for healing through otherworldly means. Read the book. You won't be disappointed.
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
i think this book is really good and i think in the book she'sdad brave cause she does'nt cry when her dad leaves her she sucks it in and tries to deal with her problems!!! (she does'nt exspress her bad feelings)
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Hauntingly beautiful. Terrifying, yet compelling. One of the best Middle Grade novels I've read in years. Kimberly Griffiths Little is a master at bringing readers the perfect story with the exact flavor of the Bayou mixed in. I also recommend her previous novel, The Healing Spell.
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
i really really loved this book!It was amazing.Its abut a family having hard times but eventually get back together
May 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An engaging bayou ghost story from an author who really knows how to bring her settings and story people to life. This one engaged both my imagination and my heart. I loved it.
Karlene Browning
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. It's sort of a ghost story, but it wasn't scary at all. I love the voice of the character. Highly recommended read.
Michelle Meades
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
great book about second chances with lots of good louisiana bayou folklore and ghosts
Priscilla Herrington
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another Young Adult novel by Little, set in Cajun country. In this story, Shelby Jane is sent to live with her mother, who had left Shelby and her father a year earlier, while her father takes a job abroad. Shelby's mother is a traiteur, a traditional healer in bayou country. Shelby has a lot to learn as she meets the other kids at her new school, and tries to understand her mother and how she could have left her own daughter.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: families, friendship
Shelby must go and live with the mother who walked out a year ago. Mom lives in the swamp and many call her a "swamp witch" as she is a healer. Shelby's first day at school, she is convinced to play a dangerous game on the waterfront.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wasn't instantly hooked, but as I continued reading it got more and more interesting.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
this book is something you would want to read to escape where ever you are.
It takes place close to New Orleans. I personally just think that is a great place for a ghost story.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it
It's not bad. The reader can easily figure out Gwen's secret before Shelby does, of course. But that's where part of the thrill comes in - how long before Shelby acknowledges the truth?
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Circle of Secrets 1 4 May 27, 2013 11:05PM  
I LOVE THIS BOOK! 1 7 Nov 08, 2011 11:56PM  
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Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico with her husband and their three sons.

For such award-winning middle grade novels as When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, her writing has been praised as "fast-paced and dramatic," with "characters painted in memorable detail" and "beautifully realized settings."
More about Kimberley Griffiths Little