Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Can You Keep a Secret?



Minty wants to grow up to be in the roller derby. She and her best friend Paz (roller derby name Pax A. Punch) have been working on a routine that they plan to perform in the neighborhood fourth of July Parade. It is the summer before sixth grade and the girls have endless months before them to annoy their older sisters, practice roller skating, and go to the pool. When Minty spots a flash of light at the edge of the forest, she runs after it to see if it is the legendary Man Bat or possibly the witch from The Witch House. In the woods, she hears a low humming coming from a tree. She reaches her hand into a hole and pulls out a slip of paper with a message. This is the start of a summer very unlike the one Minty was expecting. 

It isn’t long before Paz starts hanging out with older girls and leaving Minty out. Luckily, Minty has a new friend of her own, Raymond. Together they are trying to find out who the secrets in the tree belong to, and they start spying on the neighbors hoping to find clues. They want to help people by solving some of their problems created by their secrets. Can Raymond and Minty match each secret to someone from the neighborhood? Will they be able to help solve some of the problems that they have read about in the tree? Will Minty and Paz be able to repair their friendship? What is the secret that Raymond is hiding? Read this book and become enchanted by the secrets that await!

The Secret Tree by Natalie Standiford is a book about the ups and downs of friendship and the secrets that we all keep inside. Minty is a character I could relate to because she is someone who enjoys being a kid and doesn’t really want things to change. My heart went out to her as she struggled with friendships that were in transition. I especially loved the advice her older sister gives her about middle school and friendships. I had fun trying to figure out who the secrets belonged to and found the detective work done by Raymond and Minty to be fascinating. The beginning of this book started off a little slow for me because I didn’t really know much about roller derby and there are many references in the first twenty pages. I stuck with the book, and I am glad I did! The rest of the book flew by, and I couldn’t wait to see how everything turned out. I recommend this book for kids in third through seventh grade. Kids getting ready for middle school will relate to this book and will connect to the characters. It makes you wonder what secrets the people around you are keeping!

Has anyone else read The Secret Tree? Or another book by Natalie Standiford? We would love to hear your thoughts? 


A special thanks to Barbara Ann Watson! We won a copy of this book on her blog.

Happy Reading! ~L

32 comments:

  1. Nice review. This sounds like a good book. I remember how hard it was when my best friend and I went through a friendship transition at that age (luckily we got through it and we are still friends) I suspect most kids could relate to this happening.

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    1. Hi Alex- It can definitely be hard when friendships transition. I think this is a book that a lot of kids will be able to relate to because of that! ~L

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  2. Natalie Standiford is a new author to me. I love the sound of this book and how it relates to friendship. I'm glad that you enjoyed it! lovely review! <3

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    1. Hi Ifrah- She was new to me, too! It is a great book! So glad you enjoyed the review. :) ~L

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  3. Sounds like a great book for junior high when friendships began to really get important. I love listening to all the drama my 12 year old and her giddy girl friends consider so important about hairdos and clothes, constantly discussing it on their smart phones. I'm thinking, oh my, wait till they get to high school and boys become the focus. :)

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    1. Hi Anna- You are right! A perfect book for kids in junior high. It is interesting how every age in life brings about different changes. :) ~L

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  4. i don't know this author, but I don't know a lot of authors. There are so many these days that I can't keep up. That's why I really appreciate your reviews. They help me meet new authors and learn about their work.

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    1. Hi Lee- So true! Lots of authors and books out there. I am glad our reviews are helping you to keep up with new authors. :) ~L

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  5. Sounds like an intriguing book! Never heard of the book or the author, but I'm glad I now have. :)
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. Nutshell- It is! The Secret Tree was new to me, too! Have a nice weekend! ~L

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  6. I like that this one focuses on friendships and growing up and how things change as well as the secrets we all keep. It sounds like a really good read for a middle grader! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Heidi- This is a perfect book for middle graders. I think it is great for kids to see that everyone has secrets and more to them than we see. Also, a great book to discover more about frienships. :) ~L

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  7. I have never heard of this book...but I really don't know about many middle grade books...and that is a sad thing!

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    1. Patty- Glad we could introduce you to a new book! :) ~L

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  8. I was just looking at this book at the Scholastic Book Fair at my daughter's school. Now I wish I'd bought it.

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    1. Kelly- I just saw it at a book fair, too! It is a great read! :) ~L

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  9. I love the premise and description of this! It takes me right back to when I was in Middle School. I adored my 3 best friends and we went everywhere together. (Can you imagine that after 40 yrs, we still keep in touch? That's how much we loved each other.) And a magic tree - how cool is that?!
    Great post! :-)

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    1. Lexa- Thanks so much for sharing your story with us! I think it is amazing that you and your 3 BFs still keep in touch all of these years later! How awesome! Glad you enjoyed the review. :) ~L

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  10. I haven't heard of this book. It sounds like a good one, though. Thanks for coming over and entering my giveaway.

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    1. Creative Writing- Thanks for the giveaway! The Secret Tree is a wonderful MG book. I hope you get to read it soon! ~L

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  11. I remember that awkward age when friendships shifted, and suddenly my previous best friend had a new best friend and so did I. I haven't heard of this book or author but I bet it will hit home with a lot of kids in that stage.

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    1. Sher A. Hart- Middle school is definitely a time when frienships shift. I think kids and adults can relate to The Secret Tree. Thanks for stopping by. :) ~L

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  12. I hadn't heard of this one. Thanks so much for sharing it.

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    1. Hi Natalie- You are welcome! Glad we could introduce you to it! :) ~L

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    1. Erik- How awesome! I bet it starts some great conversations! ~L

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  14. Sounds like a great book. I love good mysteries/detective stories so this sounds like something I would enjoy. I can also relate to the changes in friendship as you grow up. I remember playing almost exclusively with a kid because he lived in my neighborhood. As I grew up and could go across town, we kind of drifted apart, but he is in most of my early memories. Thanks for a great post and for sharing this book.

    Paul R. Hewlett

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    1. Hi Paul- Thanks for sharing your memories with us! It is amazing how friendships change as we grow up! The Secret Tree has some wise words about the change and the mysteries in the neighborhood are such fun! Thanks for stopping by. :) ~L

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  15. I love a good mystery/detective story, too, and I also remember how difficult it was to have a close friendship shift to something distant (especially since I was the one going to a different school from all of my good friends). I'll check for a copy of The Secret Tree from my library soon. Thanks for sharing a new book with us!

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    1. Claudine- That must have been hard going to a different school from all of your friends. I think The Secret Tree is a book that people can connect to because of the friendship theme. The mystery and detective work are loads of fun, too! ~L

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  16. This is cuter than I expected it to be! I don't know what I thought about this book before (I've only ever seen the cover) but right I'm really loving what it's all about. I smiled at Pax A. Punch. I really like the combo of roller derby, secret messages in trees, and the middle school transition. I'm liking this older sister who gives her advice already!

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    1. Adriana- I have never read a book with roller derby in it and since I finished it I keep thinking up roller derby names. :) It is much better and different than I expected! Great for anyone who remembers middle school or who is middle school age. :) ~L

      P.S. We will be putting up an interview with the author within a few weeks!

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