Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur
|Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Stunning coming of age tale featuring wonderfully well-rounded characters and an incredibly moving storyline. Massive recommendation!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: August 2011|
|External links: Author's website|
On moving to middle school, eleven-year-old Elise's life takes a turn for the worse. She's bullied by her cool and popular locker-buddy Amanda, and embarrassed by her best friend Franklin – who's decidedly uncool and certainly not popular – she's also struggling to cope with the new arrivals at her home, Aunt Bessie's younger sister Annie and her baby daughter Ava. Just when she doesn't know how she can cope with everything, help arrives in the form of a strange key with her name on it. As she opens a door to find out about her past, Elise starts to realise that she can take control of her future.
Suzanne LaFleur's debut novel, Love, Aubrey, has been high on my list of books to read for absolutely ages and I still haven't got round to it. Clearly, this is a major error on my part, because her writing style is so fresh, clear, and moving that I can't believe I've missed out on it prior to this book! Eight Keys is an utter delight – a tender coming of age story with a host of excellent characters and some very emotional scenes towards the end as Elise gets to find out more about her dead parents and their love for her.
Looking back at the central trio of Elise, Franklin and Elise's new classmate Caroline, and comparing them to the adult characters of Elise's aunt and uncle who she lives with, her dad's friend Leonard, and Franklin's overprotective mother, this is one of the few books I've read recently which really seems to capture both the adult characters and the kids perfectly. Every one of those seven, in particular, is beautifully portrayed, completely realistic, and their dialogue sounds totally authentic.
The target audience seems to be girls of around Elise's age, but this deserves to reach a really wide readership. Very high recommendation to everyone as one of my favourites of the year so far. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: For another gorgeous coming of age story for youngsters, take a look at the wonderful The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Teens will enjoy Whisper by Chrissie Keighery and Troublemakers by Catherine Barter.
You can read more book reviews or buy Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.