Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Black Hollow Lane #2

The Secret of White Stone Gate

Rate this book
In this exciting sequel to The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane, Emmy's adventures continue as she deals with a sinister organization, a missing father, and secrets she's not sure who to trust with.

After spending the summer at home, Emmy cannot wait to return to Wellsworth for the new school year and reunite with her best friends, Lola and Jack. Before she leaves Emmy receives a note from her father telling her to hide the remaining relics The Order of Black Hollow Lane are after—and to trust no one.

When Lola is framed for a serious crime she didn't commit, Emmy knows that she and her friends are not safe. The Order wants Emmy to give up her father's location... if she doesn't, those she loves will pay the price.

Emmy and Jack need to figure out a way to clear Lola's name without bending to the Order's sinister demands. And Emmy needs to figure out who she can trust with her secrets before it's too late.

Additional Praise for The Secret of White Stone Gate:
"Readers who enjoyed The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane (2019) will want to know what happens next." - Booklist
"Fans will be more than satisfied...A solid sequel with truth and trustworthiness at its core." - School Library Journal

Praise for the Black Hollow Lane series:
"A fast-paced mystery with lots of adventure and surprising twists! —Jessica Day George, New York Times bestselling author

304 pages, Hardcover

First published March 3, 2020

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Julia Nobel

2 books292 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
541 (28%)
4 stars
750 (39%)
3 stars
539 (28%)
2 stars
80 (4%)
1 star
11 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 237 reviews
Profile Image for Mel (Epic Reading).
895 reviews274 followers
January 30, 2021
This is a very unbalanced story. So unbalanced that I struggle with what to rate it as... I've gone with 3 stars as that is right in the middle and as neutral as I can get. What I want to rate it is as 2 stars for the first 80% that is boring and seriously lacking plot; but 5 stars for the explosive ending.
We are dropped into the story a couple of months after book 1. Everyone is back at the school, our lead gal's father's mystery is mostly still shrouded (plus the spoiler from book 1 is known), and the secret society seems to have gone mostly underground; but of course not entirely.
I can't say much about this without giving away too much of book 1 or the wonderful ending. So I'll leave it as this: If you loved book 1 and really like these characters, continue to this, book 2. If you didn't love book 1 and were already thinking about giving up on the series; then do so. It'll save you the pain of the majority of this book.
The magical question of course being will I read book 3? Maybe... but I won't be rushing to do so like I did following book 1.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
Profile Image for Samantha.
1,632 reviews78 followers
January 13, 2020
Two books in, this remains a solid middle reader series.

Nobel’s characters and their adventures continue to be appealing for both young readers and adults, and though the setting wasn’t as prominent in this installment, it remains a good one.

It’s a little disappointing that the story doesn’t really make any progress in this book. Plot points occur, action ensues, but in the end, the reader knows very little more about the Order or the greater plot than they did at the end of book one. I’m not sure how long this series is planned to be, but it seems a waste to have an entire book where things don’t really move forward, even if it was entertaining to read.

The protagonists are well drawn for a middle reader book, and though the villains remain a tad too cartoonish for adult readers, I can’t really take issue with this because they feel age appropriate (as in not too nightmare-inducing) for the intended audience.

I’ll gladly read another of these, though I hope the story makes more progress than it did in this particular book.

*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Christi M.
345 reviews54 followers
February 18, 2020
In The Secret of White Stone Gate, loyalties and friendships are tested as the Order of the Black Hollow Lane blackmail, threaten, and do whatever else they can think up with the goal of convincing Emmy to give them what they want – her father.

The end of the summer break is finally over and Emmy is excited to be heading back to school, with one exception. Her mother is now requiring her to check in with some family members who live in England – family members whose only concerned that Emmy might hurt their reputation. Thankfully, they aren’t the only new characters and this year we get to meet Jack’s younger brother, Oscar, and a new transfer student, Sam, (Emmy may or may not have a small crush on Sam).

One of my favorite parts of this series is how well you get the overall sense and feeling of being inside of a boarding school. The author uses the different personalities and their varying interests to give the boarding school a more complete, well-rounded feel that to be honest sometimes other boarding school books miss out on.

I’d love to say that the members of the Order of the Black Hollow Lane have seen the light and mended their evil ways, but sadly this is not the case. At least our trio of heroes are a little wiser in who to watch out for and in knowing what is going on. On the other hand, it doesn’t feel quite as cloak-and-dagger as the previous book, but there is a still enough going on to keep readers interest.

Rating: 4 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks for the advanced reader copy and the opportunity to provide an honest review.
Profile Image for julia ☆ [owls reads].
1,519 reviews303 followers
May 25, 2022
The Secret of White Stone Gate went in a very different direction than what I was expecting! I still had quite a lot of fun reading this and following Emmy's perspective as she tried to deal with being at a new school and her struggles with her father.

The plot definitely took a darker turn here than in the previous novel and I felt like the tone was much more somber? The stakes were higher and I honestly didn't expect Nobel to actually introduce more danger to the plot in the way it was done. It was like everything was going wrong and nobody could be trusted.

I did think the friendship aspect here was still very sweet! Emmy, Jack, and Lola each had their own issues they were dealing with, but they still very much supported each other through everything. There was the introduction of two character of note -- Oli and Sam -- and I also really enjoyed how they contributed to the plot.

I would say I was disappointed with how the overall arc wrapped up. I felt like there was a lot of build up and for little pay off. The situation with the Order and Emmy's dad king of just... got resolved in a very underwhelming way while still leaving a lot of questions without concrete answers. I'm still pretty happy I read this, though, since it was very entertaining.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,088 reviews181 followers
July 29, 2020
American schoolgirl Emmeline Willick returns for her second year at British coeducational boarding school Wellsworth in this sequel to The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane . Happy to be with her friends Lola and Jack again, Emmy thinks that she is done with the sinister Order of Black Hollow Lane. A secret society made up of some of the most powerful people in the UK, recruited during their time at Wellsworth, the Order had once included Emmy's own father, who had had to fake his own death to escape, and who had been absent from her life since she was three. The truth about Thomas Allyn, and about the Order had come to light in the previous book, and Emmy had barely escaped with her life. Now she finds that everyone around her, from her best friend Lola to her new roommate Natalie, is in danger. The power-mad Jonas has returned, and demands that Emmy reveal her father's location, in order to save her friends. Is there any way to counter the Order's increasingly destructive actions...?

I had no sooner finished The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane than I was reaching for this sequel. Oddly enough, I found that I had the same experience with The Secret of White Stone Gate that I did with its predecessor. Which is to say: I read a few chapters, then put the book down for some time before returning to it again after a few weeks, and finishing it in short order. I'm really not sure why I seem to have such trouble becoming engaged with Julia Nobel's books at first, given how much I end up enjoying them, in the end. However that may be, this was still an entertaining sequel, and I appreciated the opportunity to spend more time with these characters. I saw some of the developments coming a mile off - being involved in something underhand was obvious from the beginning - but others surprised me. The resolution of the story - - left room for another sequel, and I will be interested to see where Nobel takes the story. Recommended to anyone who read and enjoyed the first book.
Profile Image for Brend.
312 reviews279 followers
May 7, 2021
You guys don't understand how much I love these kids 😭😭😭💕
Profile Image for Darla.
3,253 reviews488 followers
February 26, 2020
A sequel that ramps up the stakes and gives us more of Emmy vs the Order. In this one, the people close to Emmy are being punished for her refusal to hand over either the medals or information on her father's whereabouts. She is between a rock and a hard place, for sure! With an action scene that could be a part of the Mission Possible franchise, we race to a satisfactory ending with hopes for a trilogy.

Thank you to Sourcebooks and Edelweiss for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Muzmuz.
360 reviews9 followers
April 11, 2021
While i did enjoy the story, it wasn't as exciting as the 1st book, it felt a little bit lacking in terms of the adventure and plot wise.... felt a little bit draggy in the middle but never the less i did enjoy it and am looking forward to reading the next book ^^
Profile Image for Il Filo di Arianna.
123 reviews334 followers
January 18, 2022
Sono molto indecisa sulla votazione da dare.
Adoro questo setting e i suoi personaggi, ma la storia mi è sembrata troppo affrettata, e non ho capito neanche la trama di fondo, a partire dal titolo.
Non si intuisce se finirà con questo libro o andrà avanti.

Il primo è indubbiamente un piccolo gioiellino; questo secondo libro mi ha lasciata dubbiosa.

Leggerò un po’ di recensioni per capire meglio 👍🏻
Profile Image for Mila.
770 reviews66 followers
March 15, 2020
I think this is quite a solid sequel, even though it's not as eventful and fast-paced as the first book. We spend more time getting to know the main trio and some other new characters as well. I still wish there was a bit more variety plotwise but overall, I enjoyed reading this book and I'm excited about any possible sequels!
Profile Image for Jenni.
109 reviews10 followers
April 30, 2021
loved getting more of emmy and her friends. really quite a wholesome middle grade take at dark academia. good sequel.
Profile Image for Nicola Michelle.
1,005 reviews5 followers
March 30, 2021
This was a fantastic follow up sequel to the mystery of black hollow lane, which I really enjoyed. I was wondering how the next book would follow and how things might play out but it was just as great as the first one! Really entertaining, a nice light lovely read filled with adventure, friendship and mystery. I’ve grown to really enjoy this series and the characters, and now I definitely hope there’s more to come!
Profile Image for Amélie Boucher.
677 reviews290 followers
June 21, 2021
This was just so meh.

After reading The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane and loving it, I was super excited to read the next book in the series, but unfortunately, this did not meet my expectations. I just wasn't gripped the way I was in the first book. I found the plot to be quite boring and extremely predictable. It was just missing that extra push that made the first book so fun for me.

I'm still going to be continuing the series if there are more books to be released, but this sequel was extremely disappointing.
Profile Image for Lana.
310 reviews21 followers
January 27, 2020
This is the sequel to The Mystery at Black Hollow Lane. It’s been several months since I read the first one and I easily picked up the storyline without missing a beat. I’m not sure if it was the story or just enjoying being deeper into this series, but I actually enjoyed reading this one even more than the first! I’m anxiously awaiting the next installment!
Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for this advanced copy!
Profile Image for amanda.
351 reviews26 followers
March 11, 2020
This is the second book in the Black Hollow Lane series which follows a young girl named Emmy who is shipped off to a boarding school to England by her mother.

You can read my full review of that book on my blog here: click me

We're back at Wellsworth Boarding School for year 2 of Emmy's studies and even more dangerous adventures!!


Once again, this reminded me a lot of Harry Potter but with not so much of the magic and charm. There's even some Dursley-ish characters thrown in but they're so one dimensional and all yap and no bite that it just made me roll my eyes.

The plot is...odd. It's all over the place really and I found my eyes glaze over while reading it. It's a fast read but I didn't find it all too enjoyable and this entire business with The Order is just wearing thin on me.

I still loathe Emmy's mother with my entire heart by the way.

I feel that perhaps this series just isn't for me and that's okay. Not every book is a right fit but I'm glad I gave it another try.


Thanks very much to the publisher and Netgalley for this copy of my ARC. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for rylanne burdette.
410 reviews49 followers
January 13, 2021
This book was just as fun as the first in the series, and I am really hoping that a third book gets announced soon so I can continue this adventure with Emmy! Similar to the first book, Emmy has a mystery to solve regarding her father and the Order of Black Hollow Lane, but it didn’t feel repetitive in any way whatsoever. The stakes are raised when Emmy’s best friend, Lola, is blamed for something she didn’t do and becomes a target for the Order. Emmy must figure out how to save her friend without letting them get to her father.

I officially love middle-grade novels. Catch me reading all of them this year. While this book was wonderful, I just feel like there was something missing from it. I flew through the book, but I guess maybe there wasn’t enough mystery or secrets regarding White Stone Gate? It’s a society, but it’s only mentioned six times in the book, and I wish there was more information regarding it, especially as the title insinuates a great secret. I don’t even know if that makes sense ahaha, but other than that, I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to see what comes next!
December 31, 2020
tbh i'm glad the ending isn't a "happily ever after" type situation. i liked that emmy understood that happily ever after wasn't going to be possible for her, she knew that she would never be a normal teenager with normal friends and that the craziest thing that is going to happen to her is failing a test, or a guy asking her out. she understood and excepted that, and thats why i like this book. i feel like a happily ever after with a nice bow to tie it all up would be nice but i like the realness of it, like i'll take "emmy got to move in with her dad. her and her friends defeated the order and she grew up to marry one of her best friends" or something like that. but i like the "emmy is never gonna be able to see her father again because it would put her back on the orders radar. the most normal thing that happen to her in middle school was making the soccer team with her best friend but even the order took that away from her" alot better.

love starting off booktober with a AMAZING book 👻🎃🕷️
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Shaye Miller.
1,236 reviews81 followers
September 1, 2020
Last year I picked up book #1 in this series, The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane, and I was lured into the story very quickly. Since it’s a second book in a series, I cannot share much about the plot without spoiling book #1. However, for those who know nothing about this series, I’ll share a clip of my review last year:

Emmy lost her father on her third birthday and her “parenting expert” mother has shipped her off to Wellsworth boarding school when her work (in the US) gets incredibly busy. Emmy struggles to blend in and eventually stumbles upon a secret society and ancient artifacts that seem related to her personal family history… I’ve heard some think this is a Harry Potter rip-off, but I wouldn’t go that far. There are definitely similar elements, especially considering the main character is attending a boarding school in England where there are mysteries and secrets. But there’s no magic (at least so far) and the story offers enough unique components to make it its own story. I believe Harry Potter fans will dive into the charming Wellsworth world and I’m excited to continue with the series when book #2 is released!

Julia Nobel has my attention. I’ll look forward to what she writes, next!

For more children's literature, middle grade literature, and YA literature reviews, feel free to visit my personal blog at The Miller Memo!
Profile Image for Katie.
269 reviews30 followers
October 24, 2022
I had a lot of fun with this, but I liked the first book just a little bit more.

We're back for another year at Wellsworth, and Emmy has to deal with the chaos of the Order once again, and this time they're after those she's closest to. Lola is being blamed for a crime she didn't commit and attacked on all sides. Emmy has to so all she can to save her and clear her name without bending to the Order's whims, and in turn not knowing who she can trust.

Many of the things I liked about the first book were still here, but it was hard having Emmy, Jack and Lola split up for a large portion of the book. It also didn't fully have the atmosphere of the first book. I loved the addition of Sam and Oliver a lot and of course getting to know Barlowe a bit more. I hated Lucy and her family, but I'm pretty sure we're supposed to. The plot moved just as quickly and in interesting ways with all kinds of intrigue and smatterings of history and old artifacts.

All in all, I enjoyed this and I hope there are more of these in the future

TW/CW: abandonment, emotional abuse, injury, violence.
Profile Image for Cobwebby Eldritch Reading Reindeer .
5,071 reviews266 followers
January 15, 2020
I read this immediately after reading the first in the Series, MYSTERY OF BLACK HOLLOW LANE. I adored this mystery equally. Author Julia Nobel certainly comprehends the minds of her young adolescent subjects (12 in the first book, 13 in this) and makes me recall some of my thoughts and feelings from back in the day. I even more than once found myself responding and mentally speaking out on protagonist Emmy's behalf (especially in regard to certain authority figures and busybodies wannabe authority). I also appreciate the weaving in of English history in both books. These are like Fantasy, but not quite; like Magical Realism but not quite. Just thoroughly enjoyable and wildly entertaining reading.
Profile Image for Jen Solak.
146 reviews3 followers
January 24, 2021
The second book in this series was another wonderful mystery with suspicions cast everywhere and our main character never knowing quite who to trust. With her two best friends by her side Emmy is determined to stay away from the secret society that tried to kill her, but when her friends become targets she has no choice but to once again match wits with them. My only complaint is that I don’t know if this will be the last book or if we get a book 3! I would love to read more. One word of caution is that for particularly tender hearted middle grade readers there could be moments in the book which cause them concern, but nothing they won’t feel better about if they keep reading.
Profile Image for Elyse (ElyseReadsandSpeaks).
769 reviews43 followers
May 31, 2021
I actually think I enjoyed this more than the first one. I think the series itself is still a 3.5, but I'm rounding up because I know I'd want to keep reading on.

So this book continued on with the Order that we learned about in the first book, but there were also some darker things going on. I mean, a grown man paid kids to beat up another kid. That's kind of psychotic. But the way that he kept showing Emma the power he had by attacking her friends and threatening her family made this mystery a little darker than your typical middle grade.

I was again into the mystery and some of the little reveals at the end. I hope this series continues because it's a fun time.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 237 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.