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The Secret of Goldenrod Hardcover – October 1, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—When Trina's dad, Poppo, agrees to renovate Goldenrod, an abandoned mansion in New Royal, IA, over the course of a year, Trina hopes they can make a home for themselves. However, her new life doesn't go quite as planned. Trina finds out Poppo forgot to enroll her in school, a local bully targets her once she does get there, and a creepy presence at the house makes Trina wonder if Goldenrod is really a haunted magnet of bad luck. When Trina unexpectedly finds Augustine, a talking antique porcelain doll, her luck turns and life in New Royal may just become what she was hoping for. Though the slow start may dissuade some, those who keep reading will be rewarded by this unique twist on the traditional haunted house story. VERDICT A strong additional purchase for those who enjoyed Jennifer Chambliss Bertman's Book Scavenger and Tess Hilmo's With a Name Like Love.—Rebecca Quinones, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
"[A] wistful and superlative coming-of-age story. . . . Perfect for readers who crave contemporary stories that feel like a classic, this is one to be re-read and enjoyed many times over." --starred, Booklist
"[P]itch-perfect . . . O'Reilly's multilayered story is superbly presented . . . [and] bathed in the golden light that is the richness of living. This solid middle-grade book shines with wisdom and compassion." --starred, Kirkus Reviews
"[A] gentle debut. . . . This is a memorable and complex tale about negotiating change and coming into one's own." --Publishers Weekly
"[A] unique twist on the traditional haunted house story. . . . A strong additional purchase for those who enjoyed Jennifer Chambliss Bertman's Book Scavenger and Tess Hilmo's With a Name Like Love." --School Library Journal
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Top customer reviews
"The house was not what she had expected. It didn't need to be fixed up. It needed to be torn down. Boards covered all the windows, and the few shutters that remained dangled from their hinges. Pillars that would have held up a porch roof, if the porch had still been there, lay in the weeds like fallen trees."
Several opening chapters are dedicated to emphasizing that Goldenrod has a reputation for being haunted, but this isn't a horror novel. The authors ops for whimsy over scary, playing off of nearly every child's secret hope that his or her toys will come to life. Goldenrod is no ordinary house, but not for the reasons first presented.
Packed with small town vibes, childish innocence, and writing that is sweet in its simplicity, The Secret of Goldenrod is a tale of one compassionate little girl yearning for friendship and finding it in unlikely places.