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Eight Keys Hardcover – August 9, 2011

178 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, June 6, 2011:
"LaFleur (Love, Aubrey) writes with uncommon sensitivity to the fraught period between childhood and the teenage years, when friendships balance on a razor's edge and nothing feels certain. The heart of the story lies in the layered relationships and characters that give the novel its powerful sense of realism."

About the Author

SUZANNE LAFLEUR received her MFA in writing for children from The New School. This is her second novel.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 590L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books (August 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780385740302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385740302
  • ASIN: 0385740301
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #283,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up in the suburbs of Boston quite happily, reading, writing, playing outside, and swimming with my parents and three younger siblings. When I got a little older, I went to college (Washington and Lee, BA in English and European History), and a little older still, to grad school (The New School, MFA in Writing for Children).

Now I split my time between Natick, MA and New York City. I have written three children's books: Love, Aubrey; Eight Keys; and Listening for Lucca.

My interests include:
Crackers and cheese
Swimming 50 yards with one breath
Collecting dishes that don't match, and a few that do
Wearing a different-colored sock on each foot
Taking out too many books from the library
Writing letters
Planning travels to Europe
Wondering how my desk got so cluttered.

You can learn more about these problems and other things at:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Vanessa Senyk on June 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am a homeschooling mom and this was one of the books I selected for my 10 and 11 year old daughters. This book isn't intended to be a mystery, but a journey into self discovery. Each key helps Elise learn something about herself or her family. As I was reading and writing comprehension questions I would frequently find myself laughing or crying. I think when my daughters read this and we discuss each of the rooms she opens they will also learn something about themselves.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on October 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is about a girl named Elise and a boy named Franklin, they are best friends.
Elise and Franklin are starting middle school. Elise lives with her aunt and uncle
because her parents are dead. Once they start middle school things start to change for Elise.
A mean girl who shares a locker with her decides that she doesn't like Elise and calls her "scabular".
Before Elise's father died, he decided to leave her 8 keys which open 8 rooms that tell about her mother, her father, herself, and her family, and there is also one empty room. She found the first key when she was twelve.
This first key led to a room about her mother. Eventually the other keys showed up, and the mystery deepens.
I like the writing style used in this book, it is unique in some ways, it brings the book to life, because it is written in a very realistic manner. This book reminds me a lot of American Girl stories, because it tells about hardships, and how kids work through them. This book is very good, but somewhat predictable.
I would recommend it for boys and girls starting 6th grade.
This review was made by an 11 year old.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By the gunner VINE VOICE on October 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Eight Keys
Precociously delightful
Category: Light adventure
Age Range: 10 - 11 years (the year before middle school)
Grade (Public school): the year before middle school or junior high school)
Preferred Gender: Boys and Girls (maybe slightly tilted to girls)

Elise lives with her Aunt Bessie and Uncle Hugh. Her Mother and Father are dead.
Elise's mother died at child birth or shortly thereafter. Franklin (Frank) is Elise's next door neighbor, almost the only neighbor (they live out in the country) and her best friend. Don't worry about this being too maudlin for a child to handle. I had to go back and reread the reason for Elise's Dad dying. All it says is the doctor told him he had three years to live. He wrote out a number of letters which he gave to Uncle Hugh. I was concerned that all this death might have been somewhat difficult to swallow. It turns out to be just the opposite. Elise has such a nice group of parent substitutes; your child might regret not having the same.
Elise is s clearly the protagonist. Frank is a strong sidekick. Amanda, Elise's locker-mate, is the antagonist.
Elise's Dad, who is dead, made out birthday letters to Elise, one for each of her birthdays. Elise's uncle gives her one at the end of the day on her birthdays.
Elise discovers eight locked doors on the second floor of the barn. Slowly she acquires the keys to each door.
Her father had placed special stuff in each room. You'll have to read the book to find out what Elise found.

I highly recommend this for an eleven year old girl.

Gunner October, 2011
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Luciano VINE VOICE on November 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Elise's middle school experience isn't starting off well. She feels overwhelmed in a big new place with lots of unfamiliar kids, and she and her best friend are being targeted for being too babyish because they let it slip that they play an imaginary game together. Elise finds herself nervous about school and angry with her friend.

When Elise's twelfth birthday arrives, she is greeted with another jarring change in her life. She is given the last letter from her father. Elise's mother died in childbirth and then two years later her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Luckily Elise's aunt and uncle were able to take her in and love her, and every year on her birthday she's received a letter from her father, written in the time when she was a toddler and he was dying. This is the last letter, the last link to her parents broken.

Or is it? Just when Elise feels like she is floundering, she finds a key with her name on it. There are lots of locked rooms in the upstairs of the barn where her uncle does woodworking. Could there be mysteries for her behind all of those doors?

I liked the concept of this story, the idea of having these rooms full of secrets. I thought Elise's fight with Franklin was realistic and reasonable, although Franklin himself was a bit of a cliche. Her aunt and uncle were also pretty two-dimensional characters, although likable enough. Elise's problems with Amanda seem to make sense. These characters felt younger than sixth grade to me, though, and I was disappointed that there wasn't resolution and peace between Elise and Amanda in the story. Especially after Elise witnessed Amanda's behavior when she was picked up from school, it seemed as though that would come into play at some point later in the story.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tina Says VINE VOICE on August 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Elise and Franklin are best friends on the cusp of their teenage years. Games of pretend, which once were fun for them both, result in them being made fun of and bullied at school. While Franklin is able to ignore some of these things, Elise has a harder time of it. She doesn't do her homework, misses the bus, and is no longer kind to her best friend, Franklin.

In addition to this, Elise is also looking forward to turning twelve. At each birthday Elise receives a letter from her father who died when she was little. This letter, however, happens to be the last. Yet, her father hints at a different sort of present from him coming when she is ready. Eight keys begin to appear for Elise, each one unlocking a room in the upstairs of her uncle Hugh's barn where he works as a furniture maker. Each room has a theme of sorts, and Elise uncovers more treasures about her mother, who died in childbirth, and her father who died just a few years later from cancer.

Growing up is not easy, and Elise struggles with things, getting guidance from her aunt and uncle and her father's best friend who owns the hardware store.

While I loved this story, Eight Keys was hard for me to get into at first. Elise's experience of feeling like she doesn't fit in is something that most pre-teens will be able to relate to, yet her reaction-like purposely missing the bus, and her constant inability to do her homework, seemed out of character for her. Still, even though I can find some flaws in this one, tween readers will enjoy this story and understand the struggles that Elise faces
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