- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 054516561X
- ISBN-13: 978-0545165617
- Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #921,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Circle of Secrets Hardcover – October 1, 2011
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"An incantational tale of Cajun magic and gators in the bayou and of the love and silence between mother and daughter." -- Richard Peck, Newbery Award-winning author of A YEAR DOWN YONDER
"Kimberley Griffiths Little's THE HEALING SPELL is an atmospheric, affecting story of hope and devotion, as elegant and mysterious as bayou country itself." -- Cynthia Leitich Smith, acclaimed author of TANTALIZE and ETERNAL
"Little explores the extremes of childhood guilt and its consequences in this harsh yet well-crafted story about fully drawn people. The bayou, with its rich culture, is an atmospheric character that overlays the story with mystery and dread. A special offering for readers seeking a challenge of the heart as well as the mind." -- BOOKLIST
"Middle school readers will find a realistic yet haunting quality to Livie's life in the bayou. While there is an exotic feel to the description of the lush green and the cool swirling water, Livie's experiences are the universal experiences of growing up to face who you are and where you fit in." -- CHILDREN'S LITERATURE
"A wonderful coming-of-age story." -- SUNDAY ADVERTISER
Starred Review by School Library Journal
Gr 5-8–A story of loss, love, and forgiveness. When Shelby Jane’s father is sent out of the country for his work and her Grandma Phoebe must have an operation, she is sent to live with her mama deep in the Louisiana bayou. Because Shelby, 10, believes that her mother abandoned her, the start of this mother/daughter reunion is contentious, and Shelby seems determined to maintain her distance. Mirage is a traiteur, a healer who ministers to those in need with herbal remedies, prayers, and patience. Selby’s reluctance to give an inch at first makes her transition to life in the bayou that much more difficult. She can’t, however, squelch her fascination with the blue bottle tree in the backyard. Mirage explains that the bottles are supposed to capture spirits and that notes are put inside to send messages from the beyond. A mysterious tone permeates this gripping story. Shelby is a believable, fully developed character, as is Mirage. When the child starts at her new school, she is drawn into a frightening truth-or-dare challenge by the in crowd, which foreshadows future eerie, terrifying developments. Her strong friendship with mysterious Gwen dovetails with her determination to understand notes she takes from the blue bottle tree and Mirage’s references to painful memories she is trying to forget. Little’s rich, vivid prose and characterization create an intriguing universe in which realism and mysticism intertwine as the story’s secrets unravel. Fans of Little’s The Healing Spell (Scholastic, 2010) and Donna Jo Napoli’s Alligator Bayou (Random, 2009) will be well served by this selection.
–Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
School Library Journal, December 1, 2011
About the Author
Top customer reviews
Circle of Secrets follows the story of Shelby, a girl forced to return to live deep in the bayou with the mother who walked out on her and her father. The setting absolutely shines, transporting the reader immediately and viscerally to the swamp, which is almost a character in and of itself: at times foreboding and beautiful, dangerous and homey, strange and familiar. The relationship between Shelby and her mother, Mirage, is complex and real, and written beautifully. Little is a master at writing about the often complicated relationships between mothers and daughters--I only wish I'd read this book when I was Shelby's age!
This is truly one of the best middle-grade books I've read in a long time. The elements of mystery, suspense, and the sprinklings of a ghost story kept me turning pages as fast as I could, and the ending didn't disappoint. It made me cry in all the right ways, and best of all it made me feel like a kid again.
I'd recommend this book for children and adults alike. Read it--you won't be disappointed.