HAUNTINGS by Betsy Hearne


and Other Tales of Danger, Love, and Sometimes Loss
Age Range: 10 - 14
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Readers will hum with pleasure in the afterglow of each story in this powerful collection. The first section, comprised of modern retellings of traditional Irish folktales, ballads or fragments, opens with “Tryst,” a story about a handmaid who turns midnight thief and ultimately learns the loyalty of the man she loves. (Brief backmatter offers up additional information on most stories.) The second section retains its magical quality even though the settings are familiar and mostly set in the United States. A post-9/11 tale makes its appearance with “Loose Chippings” about a family who is taking their daughter to England for a semester abroad and witnesses a bombing. Perhaps the masterpiece is “Secret Trees,” which focuses on a boy whose mother has a nervous breakdown. He tries to make sense by immersing himself in a science project in a neighboring tree grove, which itself was a science experiment. The collection is a perfect antidote to the “problem” novel, offering young readers topics that try their souls and portraits of the souls who try to help them cope. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-06-123910-6
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2007


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