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The Secret Tree Hardcover – May 1, 2012

31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for How to Say Goodbye in Robot:

* "Bea's original first-person voice will draw readers in, and the unexpected plot will keep them engaged. A decidedly purposeful not-love story, this has all the makings of a cult hit with a flavor similar to Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "An honest and complex depiction of a meaningful platonic friendship and doesn't gloss over troubling issues....Teens will identify with the intense emotions of Beatrice and Jonas, the reasons they are drawn to each other, and the ups and downs of their relationship...Outstanding" - SLJ, starred review

"The heart of this novel is neither cold and metallic nor full of romance and delusion. Instead, it’s very human." - Booklist

Praise for Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters:

* "Readers will eagerly flip pages to hear the sins of the Sullivan sisters and love the tale each one spins. This book has a long shelf life ahead of it...Excellent" - SLJ, starred review

"Standiford makes reading about Baltimore high society and the flawed, pampered, but likable Sullivans feel like a wickedly guilty pleasure....Readers will wish that more family members had confessions to make." - PW

"Humor abounds in the inner workings of this interesting and unusual family." - Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Natalie Standiford is the author of HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT, CONFESSIONS OF THE SULLIVAN SISTERS, and THE SECRET TREE. She is originally from Maryland, but now lives in New York City and plays in the all-YA-author band Tiger Beat.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 510L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545334799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545334792
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #825,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Natalie Standiford was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, but now lives in New York City. She plays bass in the rock bands Tiger Beat (featuring fellow YA writers Libba Bray, Dan Ehrenhaft, and Barney Miller) and Ruffian. Find out more at her web site:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brittany Moore VINE VOICE on July 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Minty loves the roller derby and so does her best friend Paz. Or, at least she used to love it too. Now Paz has started hanging out with some of the older more popular girls and Minty isn't sure what to do. Strange things start happening though, like Paz getting weird ailments and someone snooping through people's things. When Minty catches the snooper she chases him through the words, here she stumbles upon a The Secret Tree. People place their secrets in the tree and the ghost inside eats them and then the secrets disappear, but not if someone takes them first. Minty wants to figure out what is going on in this town, because too many things are strange. She wants her best friend back, but maybe she can make some other friends while she tries.

This was a sweet story about friendship. Minty was an interesting young girl. I've never known anyone to be so obsessed with roller derby, but it was a fun aspect to this novel. This novel takes place the summer between fifth and sixth grade, a time of big changes for kids. Paz seems to be trying out a different personality and Minty just wants everything to stay the same. Unfortunately people change though. Minty's town reminds me a lot of my own. Both towns are on the smaller side, we have a man who sells vegetables around town in a horse drawn cart and anyone can be in the parades. I wasn't positive what age-range this book would fall into before reading it, but it's definitely middle grade possibly into young YA. It's a great story for all ages though. I really enjoyed how things transpired and the little bits of mystery that were within the pages. This is definitely a book to check out if you want a nice read that leaves you satisfied.

First Line:
"A ghost can live anywhere."

Favorite Lines:
"It had a long, black braid down its back, four tiny barrettes in its hairs, and Paz's wallet-sized school picture glued to its face. The doll was stuck full of pins."
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Lee on August 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a mother who *still* tries to screen everything her 13-year-old daughter reads, I actually enjoyed "The Secret Tree" by Natalie Standiford not so much for the plot or the writing itself. I thought it was a sweet book, but, having read a number of coming-of-age novels already, I didn't find the plot too original (the use of a tree for secrets and messages was used recently in Ally Condie's "Crossed", I believe, which goes on to become a completely different sort of book), although the use of devices like roller-derby aficionados and harmonicas to add bulk to the story was new. Rather, I appreciated the Secret Tree and how it seems to devour secrets for how it could translate to the seemingly anonymous social networks we now have and our current need to broadcast all aspects of our lives. Just like the people who write their secrets down and stuff it in the Secret Tree, it's almost as though once we post some mundane personal thought online, then it would either be affirmed or disappear, and so we can move on. This was a very quick read for me, and not one that warrants as much reading into it as I did. Said daughter certainly enjoyed it for what it (probably) was: a cute summer read you could have fun with in the fall. Her review follows:

"'The Secret Tree' by Natalie Standiford was an amazing book about how one girl and her new mysterious friend helped many people become happy through an adventure.

"Minty is having a weird summer. Her sister is acting like a crazy person, her best friend is beginning to think everything baby-ish and boring, and her arch nemeses, David and Troy, might actually be *human*! And THAT'S before including the Man-Bat in the woods, the Witch Lady and a number of objects mysteriously disappearing.

"Then her summer gets even weirder.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maggie Knapp on January 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Minty and Paz are best friends in a somewhat rural, multicultural neighborhood on the edge of some woods. There is plenty to like about this book, which deals with changing friendships, cliques and the Mean Boys and (who would have guessed)....roller derby. *smile*

This is a readable story of Minty's summer before 6th grade, when her BFF starts to develop other interests, her big sister wants to be left alone and Minty just wants things to be like they used to be. When Minty hears noises in the woods, and finds mysterious notes left in a tree, the plot thickens. Minor quibbles: I was a little surprised at how often Minty climbed out a window at night, and I never believed that Raymond's living situation could happen in real life, without being noticed. I never believed a teen would write "I'm betraying my best friend..." But overall, an enjoyable read and easy to recommend to 5th graders or tweens.
About me: I'm a middle school/high school librarian
How I got this book: purchased for the library
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joshua W. on May 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book caught my eye because it seemed like a good mystery/puzzle-type book. I read it in one sitting and absolutely loved it. I will most definitely share it with my students. Not only is it entertaining, but I think it would teach young readers a lot about the evolution of friendships and growing up. I envision creating a book with my kids while we read, just like the one Raymond made, to keep track of all the characters and their secrets. I think everyone can identify with them. It reminded me a lot of "Walk Two Moons," in that it teaches that everyone has his own agenda, and there might be more going on in someone's life than others may see on the outside. I can't recommend it highly enough!
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