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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Critically acclaimed author Kimberley Griffiths Little weaves a haunting story of friendship and family and the power of faith, once again set against the lush backdrop of the Lousiana bayou. After her mother walked out on Shelby Jayne and her dad, Shelby thought she'd never speak to her mamma again. But with her dad leaving the country for work, it turns out she doesn't have a choice: Shelby has to move back into her mamma's house, deep in the heart of the Louisiana bayou. Her new classmates tease and torment her, so Shelby's relieved to finally find a friend in Gwen, a mysterious girl who lives alone on the bayou. But Shelby can't help wondering if Gwen has something to do with the puzzling messages she finds hidden in the blue bottle tree behind her house. The only person who might be able to explain is her mamma -- but Shelby's not ready to ask. Not yet. It may take a brush with something from the beyond to help Shelby see that the power to put her own ghosts to rest is withi…

Circle of Secrets

by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Overall Book Review:

After reading Kimberley Griffiths Little’s wonderful novel, The Healing Spell, earlier this year, I was excited to get my hands on a copy of Circle of Secrets. The story did not disappoint! From the beginning, I was drawn right back into Little’s wonderful descriptions of the Louisiana bayous and their unique and vibrant culture. Shelby was an easy character to feel close to, and my heart ached for her as she navigated the difficult pathways of her broken family and tried to make a place for herself at a new school. 

It was hard not to compare this book to The Healing Spell, and as such, it didn’t earn quite as high a rating for me as its predecessor. While I thought that the supernatural plotline was fun, and a wonderful way to bring about healing in Shelby’s family, I also felt at times that the supernatural elements and Shelby’s relationship with the mysterious Gwen detracted a little from Shelby’s equally poignant relationship with her mother. I also felt, in the end, like things wrapped up a little too quickly and easily, and that the resolution of the story didn’t carry quite as much weight as the set-up had. However, on the whole, Circle of Secrets was a magical, engrossing read and left me wishing for more long after I’d closed it. I certainly hope to read more Bayou Teche novels by Kimberley Little in the future!

Circle of Secrets would be a perfect read for both pre-teens and their parents. (It would be an especially great pick for a mother-daughter book club!)

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 3 religious exclamations.

Violence/Gore: A story is told about a girl killed by lightning. Kids speculate about what it would feel like to be struck by lightning. Kids speculate about what it would feel like to drown.

Sex/Nudity: Characters flirt.

Mature Subject Matter:

Parental separation, death, mother/daughter relationships

Alcohol / Drug Use:


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About the Reviewer

As a kid, I used to tell people that I wanted to be a “professional book reviewer” when I grew up (along with writer/ballerina/figure skater/mom). I thought that any profession that involved the full-time reading of books was my idea of heaven. Getting the chance to review books is a little dream come true!