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Leepike Ridge Hardcover – May 22, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8–Eleven-year-old Tom Hammond lives with his widowed mother in a windblown old house chained to the top of a gigantic rock. One night, unable to sleep, he heads down to the stream that borders their property, where he has left a heavy piece of refrigerator packing foam. What starts out as aimless drifting down quiet water turns deadly when Tom's foam slab feeds into the rougher mountain water and he is pulled under a rock, ending up in an underwater cavern. The secrets he discovers while attempting to find his way out of the mountain caves are surprising, yet seamlessly executed. While Leepike Ridge is primarily an adventure story involving murder, treachery, and betrayal, Wilson's rich imagination and his quirky characters are a true delight. Tom's feisty mother will not believe that her son has drowned despite the evidence to the contrary, and her run-ins with various townspeople are jewels in themselves. There are enough twists and turns in the plot to keep both seasoned and reluctant readers turning the pages. Think Mark Twain with a contemporary and utterly captivating twist.–Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Fleeing the possibility of a new stepfather, 11-year-old Tom Hammond washes downriver into a series of caves that contain a few dead bodies; Reg, a man who has been trapped inside for three years; mysterious carvings; and no apparent way out. Outside, on their mountaintop, his grieving mother, threatened by treasure hunters, continues to search for him. Tom's adventures have several literary ancestors, including Tom and Huck in the cave, and the inventive Swiss Family Robinson, but this is solidly set in the present, standing on its own with well-crafted suspense and fascinating survival detail. Underlying the story is the possibility that explorers from ancient civilizations arrived in North America long before Columbus, a theory certain to interest middle-grade readers. They will also relish the physicality of the journey: underwater swims, tight passages, and rock climbing as Tom, Reg, and a found dog search for an exit. A crotchety neighbor and a group of local thugs add to the tension of this appealing and easy-to-booktalk package. Isaacs, Kathleen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (May 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375838732
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375838736
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,106,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I think boys will really enjoy reading this exciting book!
Rebecca
It's a great combination when a writer can combine a breath-taking plot with vivid description, believable dialogue, and memorable characters.
Thomas Askew
The story was exciting; I turned pages quite quickly at the end.
MC

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am a traitor to my sex. I must be. All evidence clearly points in that direction. If 2007 is remembered as anything, for me it will be the year of Boy Books That I Adored While My Female Friends Slowly Shook Their Heads. First I fell head-over-heels gaga for Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Girls didn't always get the jokes. Then Atherton #1: The House of Power struck me as particularly fun. Blank stares from my female co-workers. Now I've read "Leepike Ridge" and if I am not physically shoving this book down your throat it is only because I have faith that this THIS book must surely be the exciting boy-centered tale that's going to win over mutual genders. It's got archaeology... and sheer death-defying, nail-biting survival! There's a practical tale of a boy finding a new father figure... and evil villains who will kill any man foolish enough to stand between them and TREASURE! Add in the fact that the writing itself is remarkably good (I used an unprecedented six colored tabs on cool sentences in the first chapter alone), the plot riveting, and the book itself a kind of Hatchet meets Holes and you've got yourself one heckuva debut novel, my friend. Boys, girls, small genderless rocks, EVERYONE should love and appreciate this book. And if I hear anyone so much as yawn in its direction, heads are gonna roll.

Things could be better.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on June 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Eleven-year-old Thomas Hammond is having a rough time. His dad died three years ago, leaving him and his mom alone in their house perched on top of the rock. They scrape by, surviving together, yet his mother begins to feel that Tom needs a father figure. In steps Mr. Jeffrey Veatch. Tom doesn't like him and his mom doesn't seem to either, but he appears to mean well. Then one day, Mr. Veatch proposes marriage.

Tom can't sleep that night, knowing his mom is contemplating Mr. Veatch's proposal and dreading the outcome. So he decides to sneak out his window and go down to the river where he likes to explore. He often finds solace amongst the weeping willows and the wildlife living there.

On this night he also finds the huge chunk of packing foam that had arrived that day with the new refrigerator. The wind had blown it off the porch. Tom decides to hop aboard and float downstream on it like a raft. At first, the trip is awesome, and Tom floats pleasantly along watching the stars and listening to the cicadas. And then he falls asleep.

Tom awakes to find himself caught up in a swift current. Before he can swim for shore, the water throws him up against the rocky mountain and then sucks him into a complex system of underground caves. He fights for air as the river pulls him under and throws him against the rocks. Completely exhausted and battered from head to toe, Tom finally comes to rest on a gravel beach inside the cave. In total darkness, he pulls himself up onto the beach and finds that he's not alone --- he shares the beach with a dead man!

So begins Tom's exciting quest to survive and find a way out of the caves.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan A. Ball on June 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Tonight, my son (8), daughter (6), and I finished this wonderful book. We all enjoyed the mix of adventure, humor, and suspense. Mr. Wilson has a good ear for words, and uses them effectively to tell a story that sticks with you. By the end, you feel attached to the main characters. Tom, Reg, and Argus will be members of our family's hall of heroes for many years to come.

We look forward to reading future books by Mr. Wilson.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. Hoos on May 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I read Leepike Ridge in two sittings and I was hesitant to stop reading it during that first sitting. I was fairly certain going into it that I would probably enjoy it to some degree, but I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I ended up enjoying it. As a recent college grad I can testify that this book can be enjoyed by people of all ages and I honestly hope it will be. I'd say that this would make a good Christmas present, but by that time, N.D. Wilson's next book will be right around the corner. I suggest adding this to your summer reading and pre-ordering his next title as soon as you can.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Taylor Adams on May 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
N.D. Wilson's first book is more valuable to me than all the treasure rumored to be buried beneath Leepike ridge. This book grabs you from the first sentence, sits you down in a comfy reading chair, and politely insists you finish reading. You can't start this book without finishing it that same sitting.

Children will love this book. It is very much a boy's adventure, but I know a number of girls who loved it too. The story is complex and innovative, and as we go along we gradually get more backstory - and those are my favorite kinds of books. Some of the reveals I anticipated, but then, the book is aimed at grade schoolers and we all anticipate some twists in everything.

The book is well-written. Like, amazingly well-written. The story is shaped and honed perfectly. I especially loved the last five pages. The book in general is above standard, but those last five pages . . . I even got teary-eyed!

Let me also say that this book lends itself to a big-screen movie extremely well. The book is so well written that you *almost* start seeing the images after a while. This book is a welcome change from most recent children and young adult fiction.

Leepike Ridge is original, but it also gives tribute to great literature of the past. You can almost *see* Homer, Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, and even some Dickens standing just beyond the veil. Other authors you can almost taste in the background would the zany-and-slightly-odd reality of the best of Roald Dahl, the quirky-yet-captivating characters of J.K. Rowling, the magical "otherness" of C.S. Lewis, the burning "euchatastrophe" of J.R.R. Tolkien, the striking humor and observations of G.K.
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