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Leepike Ridge Paperback – July 22, 2008
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
In contrast to his 100 Cupboard Series, Wilson tells of eye-gluing adventure that unfolds all on two mundane properties. It will certainly get the adventure juices flowing in male readers. And it gives sweet flavors of Wilson's "Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl" life perspective.
With each book I read from Wilson, I'm energized and saddened, energized by new discovery, saddened that I'm reading faster than Wilson is writing more stories to keep me up late into the night.
Praise God for sunshine, green grass, wind, and planted seeds.
I read the kindle version, formatting was great, no problems, and the delivery was lightning fast as always.
Release Date: May 22nd, 2007
Date Read: 2011, September 1st-3rd
Rating: 5/5 stars
Recommended to: All ages!
Tom's father is dead, and he and his mother Elizabeth live alone in an old house chained to the top of a rock above a river. After a frustrating dinner with his mother's suitor, Tom takes a midnight walk to clear his head. But what starts out as innocent fun and a floating nap on a piece of packing foam turns into a wild ride down the river, under and over a few waterfalls - and into the mountain itself! It's get out or die in the cavity of a mountain, and with a dead mean lying on the underground shore next to him, Tom's determination to live is fierce. And what he finds on his journey home may be worth much more than hoards of gold.
My thoughts -
G.E.N.I.U.S. Have I ever told you how I feel about this author? The six letters above sum it up nicely. Maybe even perfect. Yes, to me, his books are the greatest, and that's saying something, when I have sooo many favorites. I just can't get enough of his books...his level of awesomeness far surpasses that of all else.
This is my second time reading this book, and even now I know I'll never get tired of the story it holds. It's so amazing, from front to back. The writing is like, the best. EVER. The way Wilson views the world if phenomenal (and this is shown by the way he describes things).
This book will have you holding your breath the whole time, but not in the way you are probably thinking. Don't expect nonstop action; do expect other forms of intensity, such as mystery, intrigue, and suspense. Rationally trying to find your way out of the inside of the mountain, and how to live on the inside of a mountain for a few years, is extremely gripping, especially if you might be flooded in, and drown, and never get out until the water carries your dead body through its secret tunnels and into the light of day you died to find. That is the kind of suspense in store. I loved it; I hope you will, too.
This book as been compared to Robinson Crusoe, King Solomon's Mines, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Odyssey. I agree. If you've read any of those and liked them, try this adventure. If you haven't read them, or maybe you did and didn't like them, still try this adventure. You never know...and I definitely wouldn't want you to miss out on the possibility of liking one of my favorite books EVER.
Character notes -
These characters (like all of N. D. Wilson's characters) are........genius. Did you guess?? Haha! They're tangible, wonderful friends (or enemies) who all have a past, a future, a life of their own.
Tom is one lovable kid. He did exactly what any 11-year-old would have done with a slab of packing foam - tried to float on it. He is consistent and smart and content with the world. He and his mother know each other well, and they both miss his father.
Reg, also, was awesome. I can't imagine the story without him. He is Tom's perfect counterpart in the story and he also helps to form the perfect ending for the story.
My favorite characters are (1. Elizabeth, Tom's mother. I could picture her walking through tall grasses, picking up her skirts, her hair in a messy bun; (2. Phil Leiodes. The bad guy. He added a lot to the story and made things a whole lot more complicated; and (3. Jeffrey Veatch. Stupid, selfish idiot that he was, I just can't help but laugh at his ridiculousness. I mean, when someone is described as having a saggy chest, chapped leeches for lips, and skinny-man fat beneath the chin, you can't help but laugh.
Story notes -
This story is rich. Simple and fresh, but so, so rich. It holds life and the desire to live; it holds friendships and mystery and a boy missing his father, wanting a father figure. It's about a mother's love, cheeky and selfish suitors, and a man who must pay the price for his crimes. All this piled into 250 pages, and still it's simple and easy to read and understand. It's amazing how Wilson does this.
I love the humor this story holds as well. In the face of Tom being lost under the mountain and the possibility of him never getting out, you have Jeffrey, who says and does the funniest things. The sarcastic undertone never fails to give me a giggle, even when things are intense. And after a giggle break, things go right back to being suspenseful.
Every scene is excellently executed and written, in every sense.
Summing it up -
Livening. Spirited, vivacious. I could smell the grass, feel the wind, and hear the rush of the river. I felt and saw complete darkness underground, and the heat of Reg's torch scorched my skin. I held my breath for more than a minute, swimming in pitch black water to get through cracks in the rock. I look forward to doing it all over and over and over again! Enjoy - feast!
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. Chesterton, the profound depth of Lloyd Alexander (particularly the Chronicles of Prydain series), and the inevitable satire of P.G. Wodehouse.
This book has earned itself a permanent place on my "favorite books" shelf. I cannot wait for N.D. Wilson's next book, "100 Cupboards" (due out in Dec. 2007), the first in a fantasy trilogy. Bring it on, Mr. Wilson!