When I was at Kepler’sBooks to see Laurie R. King I successfully restrained myself from buying books for myself. However, the staff had such wonderful recommendations that I bought a stack of books for my 11 year old. They all looked interesting, so I decided to read (and potentially review) each one before handing it over to her.
After reading it, I started thinking about my review, and realized I wasn’t quite sure where to go with a review of a kids book. Hopefully this is interesting and useful.
rating: 4 of 5 stars
Shakespeare’s Secret was a fun read. In my opinion, that’s the most important quality of a book for kids.
The characters are interesting. I identified with Hero, the 6th grade girl who never quite fits in anywhere. I suspect most preteen girls will understand that feeling as well. However, I never had as cool of an adventure as she does!
Hero and her older sister Beatrice move into a house with a mystery. Hero finds out about the diamond rumored to be hidden in it from the elderly next door neighbor, and sets out to find where the jewel is hidden. While visiting he neighbor, she runs into Danny, a very cool 8th grader, and he joins in the hunt.
Along the way, Hero learns about the necklace the rumored diamond comes from, which leads to some historical research and discovery. I think that the nuggets of information about Anne Boleyn, Edward de Vere, and about Shakespeare in general will whet the appetite of readers, so when they run into more in depth discussions elsewhere they will be more likely to pay attention– they will have a hook to hang it on, so to speak.
The other thread of the storyline has to do with Hero starting at a new school, and (once again) being teased due to her name. Beatrice (as usual) has a much easier time. There is some interesting insight into what is needed to fit in, and further, to be popular, and the tradeoffs involved.
I think this book will appeal to girls and some boys from ages 10-12 or so. I’m looking forward to handing it over to my daughter, I think she will enjoy it.