Saturday 6 August 2011

Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

For Review: Puffin
Published: 11 August 2011

From Goodreads: Elise and Franklin have always been best friends. Elise has always lived in the big house with her loving Uncle and Aunt, because Elise's parents died when she was too young to remember them. There's always been a barn behind the house with eight locked doors on the second floor.

When Elise and Franklin start middle school, things feel all wrong. Bullying. Not fitting in. Franklin suddenly seems babyish. Then, soon after her 12th birthday, Elise receives a mysterious key left for her by her father. A key that unlocks one of the eight doors upstairs in the barn...

Having heard great things about Suzanne LaFleurs first novel Love, Aubrey I jumped at the chance to review this and I am so glad I did. It's a beautifully written story that will resonate with many readers, and I'm definitely keen to read more of her work.

Elise is such a great character and really comes across as an authentic 11 - 12 year old who is struggling to adjust to changes in her life.  It took me back in time and I remembered how difficult those changes could be - where suddenly you were expected to act older and more mature, and the pressure to fit in and not seem different became so important.  I also adored Franklin - who seemed to take it all in his stride and stayed a good friend to Elsie even when she wasn't that nice to him!

I loved the story line involving the keys!  It is such a brilliant idea and a great way to see Elise learn and grow - to decide who she wants to be.  And I loved her father for doing it for her - to give her a part of himself that she could discover - especially since she was so young when he died.  There was such a strong sense of family in this novel - how much they care for each other is evident and I really enjoyed that aspect of it as well.

A lovely, sweet and enjoyable story.

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