Posted tagged ‘Mystery’

A Tale of Witchcraft

April 23, 2020

I love picture books and often review and recommend them on this blog. When one of my critique partners from the Writers’ Rumpus Group asked if anyone would like to review an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of his forthcoming middle-grade novel, I agreed to read it and write a review. It is not my usual genre, but I must say, I was hooked after the first chapter!

willow cove

WITCHES OF WILLOW COVE has it all – teen angst, romance, jealousy, betrayal, mystery, and witchcraft. It’s written by Josh Roberts and takes place in a small Massachusetts town that dates back to the time of the Salem witch trials. Middle schoolers Abby and Robby are best friends who live next door to each other. On Halloween night, which also happens to be Abby’s thirteenth birthday, the two of them decide to explore an abandoned mental hospital at the top of Whispering Hill. It’s there that Abby and Robby are caught up in unearthly experience. Later, Abby comes to the realization that she and five other girls in her class are witches. Miss Winters, their substitute teacher, and witch, becomes their mentor. Abby begins to spend time with the five girls, and she keeps secrets from Robby which causes a rift in their longtime friendship. Robby, his friend Zeus, and his girlfriend Becca know there is something mysterious going on. The three of them band together to unravel the truth about Miss Winters. In the end, it takes a clever plan devised by Robby, Becca, and Zeus with the combined efforts of Abby and the five young witches, using their witchcraft to destroy the evil resurrected in the town of Willow Cove. Josh Roberts masterfully weaves a spine-tingling tale of witches and witchcraft with plot twists and unexpected events that will keep readers spellbound from beginning to end.

 

CAPTURE THE FLAG

September 4, 2012

I’m always looking for great books to encourage my library students to read. I recently finished reading Capture the Flag written by Kate Messner. Mystery, history, and intrigue make this book a winner for my third through fifth graders.

The story begins with a gala reception taking place at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Three seventh grade students on winter break are in attendance. Anna, daughter of a senator, is a budding writer for her school newspaper in Vermont and is hoping to interview a senator who is running for president in the next election. José, whose mother worked on the restoration of the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner,” is more interested in reading his book than the goings-on at the gala. Then there’s Henry who is glued to his video game on his computer and could care less about the artifacts and history his Aunt Lucinda has been immersing him in all week long.

They three become unwitting accomplices when a freak snow storm leaves them stranded at a Washington, D.C. airport and they learn “The Star-Spangled Banner” flag has been stolen. Anna believes that the thieves are snowed in, too, and convinces José and Henry to help find who took the flag and return it to its rightful place.

Kate Messner does an excellent job ramping up the tension as events unfold. A man with a snake tattoo, a politician gone bad, a Secret Society, and a young boy and his dog all come into play. Readers are sure to get caught up in the action as Anna, José, and Henry cooperate with one another and use their talents and ingenuity to catch the thieves. Recovery of the flag and unexpected friendships make for a satisfying ending.

Check out Kate Messner’s website and blog here.


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Leslie Leibhardt Goodman

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VIVIAN KIRKFIELD - Writer for Children

Picture Books Help Kids Soar

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