October 10, 2011

Grim Hill Forest of Secrets

by Linda DeMeulemeester
Lobster Press
189 pp.
Ages 9-12

Oh, Cat and Sookie! Can't anything be simple in your lives?  Most kids don't need to worry about being abducted while on their high school orientation.  And, Cat, what are the chances that your magically-inclined little sister ends up with you on that same bus that is hijacked by some creepy guy with a gun?

If you're Cat Peters, originally of The Secret of Grim Hill fame, the chances are very good that all will not go as planned.  Even your various attempts to escape and evade the thugs, who are looking for their goods and you in Headless Valley, never go smoothly.  How much "bad luck" can a hero have? (Oh, I forgot that the story takes place around the summer solstice, when the veil between the Otherworld and our's is thinnest, and the spirits easily mix and mingle with humans.)

Luckily Cat has a few positives going for her.  First, Jasper, Amanda, Amarjeet, Mia, Mitch, and Clive, her soccer mates, are along for this ride and several of them have the skills to help them get out of this mess. (Too bad that Cat's little sister, Sookie, and Clive's younger brother, Skeeter, are also with them.) Secondly, Cat just happens to have the mirror that her fairy friend, Lea, had gifted her.  (Unfortunately, Sookie is anxious to use the mirror to put her magic, which leans towards the dark craft of witches, to work.)  Thirdly, from her science project, Cat has a working knowledge of wolves, a pack of which seems to be stalking the kids.  (Alas, wolves are the least of their beastly worries.) Finally, Cat is fairly astute about reading people (except Clive) and interpreting circumstances, although regrettably she cannot control everything.

As the kids attempt to keep themselves from being killed and still ensure their rescue, the Otherworld flirts with them, always at the periphery: in Lea's mirror, in the bog, in the howling of the wolves, in the medicine circle of stones, at a deserted cabin,  beyond a loft's door.  But, they could not foresee their contact with the Otherworld being their salvation as well as the destruction of the world they know.  But that must wait for Book 6.

DeMeulemeester's supernatural series may be perfect for the tween set but there are still many young teens who will continue to follow Cat et al. just to see how things turn out.  Anticipation has no age limits. 

Check out www.grimhill.com for more details about the books and the author.

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