Publisher's Note:  

The Secret Box is the first in an irresistible middle-grade series that will delight fans of Dan Gutman, Wendy Mass, and Trenton Lee Stewart.


What starts as a fun quest to open a mysterious birthday present quickly turns crazy and dangerous when Jax and her cousin Ethan discover themselves at the center of a special magical legacy. Soon they realize the secret box was not intended as a gift, but as call for help that they alone can answer.


Readers will love the page-turning mystery, hilarious girl and boy narrators, and clever incorporation of mythology—and lingering questions will leave them eager for more,

The Secret Box

by Whitaker Ringwald

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Overall Review:  

The Secret Box by Whitaker Ringwald is a mystery with a slight supernatural/magical element.  The majority of the book follows three cousins as they slowly (at times, very slowly) unravel and chase down a mysterious box.  The story narrative alternates between two of the three cousins; this is a common approach these days, but for some reason it seemed a bit choppy in this instance.  One of the cousins, Jax, is a twelve year old female and the other cousin, Ethan, is a thirteen year old male so this book should appeal to a mixed audience.  As mentioned, the pacing was not brisk and the characters were not terribly appealing, so the story didn't have much of a hook until the final pages.  Although slated as book one of a new series, this book wraps up the current plot and action without leaving the reader in a cliff-hanger ending.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language: 2 religous exclamations; 1 mild obscenity; 3 scatological words.


Violence/Gore:  Report (non-detailed) about prior accident involving blood and a character's queasiness about blood; characters are designing and playing a violent video game which is described briefly and characters are thinking of ways to add more blood, violence, etc.; drops of blood seen and characters hypothesize about where it comes from; property is damaged; implication of torture; characters discuss general plans to hurt someone for purposes of blackmail; verbal threats are exchanged; character has a bruise--violence implied; character's nose bleeds upon more than one occasion; tweezers are used to remove something from an arm, little detail; characters held/threatened at gunpoint.


Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:  

Criminal acts (kidnapping, blackmail, theft), single parenthood.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

"Meth" mentioned in a joking, hypothetical context.

Reviewed By Cindy
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