A blog to keep up on what's happening for teens at Brooks Memorial Library including: • new books • events • resources available • fun website suggestions • ... and more.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Teen Review! The Valley of Secrets

The Valley of Secrets by Charmian Hussey is a mystery/adventure novel that chronicles the inheritance of Lansbury Hall by 12-year-old Stephen Lansbury. After his Great Uncle Theodore passes away, Stephen, an orphan, is swept off to his new mansion in a small Cornish town. When he arrives, not all is as he expected. It turns out that everyone there has been suspicious of the Hall and Theodore, because he seldom ventured outside its eerie grounds. Keeping to himself, Stephen explores the estate, unknowing of the greater mystery that surrounds the mansion and his uncle.

I found that this book was not a great one. There was hardly any action, and the author couldn't make up her mind about Stephan's emotions: he was constantly switching from depressed, to nervous, to happy, all on the same page. Also, its theme was repetitive, giving the feeling of tediousness. One of its main focuses was botany, Theodore's hobby, and this played a key role in solving the mystery around him. This, I am sorry to say, greatly decreased the story's appeal to me.

I will say, though, that the author's choice of words and vocabulary was particularly well done, and melded the story together into something that at least flowed nicely, despite the awkward storyline. Overall, I think that only a select few people would enjoy this book.

This mystery novel is geared for readers age nine through thirteen who are interested in mystery and botany.

The following book review was submitted by Hayden Bunker, a Brattleboro Area Middle School student in grade 7. Hayden is a member of a newly organized club that was inspired by the Elementary School "BEEP" book review program of which many students were previous members. It is open to any student who is interested in literature and would like to share their reading experiences with others.