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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

A disturbing call from her great aunts Astrid and Jeannette sends seventeen-year-old Francie far from her new home in New York into a tangle of mysteries. Ditching an audition in a Manhattan theater, Francie travels to a remote lake in the northwoods where her aunts’ neighbors are “dropping like flies” from strange accidents. But are they accidents? On the shores of Enchantment Lake in the woods of northern Minnesota, something ominous is afoot, and as Francie begins to investigate, the mysteries multiply: a poisoned hot dish, a puzzling confession, eerie noises in the bog, and a legendary treasure that is said to be under enchantment—or is that under Enchantment, as in under the lake? At the center of everything is a suddenly booming business in cabin sales and a road not everyone wants built. To a somewhat reluctant northwoods Nancy Drew, the intrigue proves irresistible, especially when it draws her closer to the mysteries at the heart of her own life: What happened to her fat…

Overall Book Review:

Francie is a 17-year-old living in New York City trying to make it as an actor. She is called by her aunts to return to the cabin of her youthful summers to help prevent their deaths. Once back at Enchantment Lake, she begins to unravel the mysterious deaths that have been occurring among the residents. All the while, Francie is trying to avoid danger herself, negotiate a potential love interest, and put off her over protective grandfather. Small details are dropped about Francie’s past and back story which hopefully will be resolved in future installments.

This suspenseful mystery is a teen version of the Nancy Drew Series. It is great for young adult sleuths who like to put clues together as they read. This book is similar to the PBS TV series The Frankie Drake Mysteries. It is light for the most part without too much peril. It is the first of a three-part series by New York Times best-selling author Margi Preus.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by University of Minnesota Press

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  1 mild obscenity

Violence/Gore:  Reference to feeling like drowning – air squeezed out of lungs; report of murder; thought of someone trying to kill them; report of death via heart attack; reference to committing suicide by gas stove potentially fridge; reference to people dropping like flies; gun used to kill wood chucks joked about to kill jet skiers; gun shot in the night; report of man death via gun shot – argument over suicide or murder; report of death via poison; conspiracy of adult killing adult; report of man killed via tree falling on him; report of man killed via fishing accident; report of man killed via snake bite; reference to ‘until I die’; reference to eventual deaths; use of ‘hang him’ in reference to trying to frame someone; insinuation that wife killed husband; thought she might not come back alive; reference to heart not in a silver box but in another box pierced with spinner and dare devil hooks; report of parental death via car accident; thought of being next to be killed; dead body; man poisoned; elderly woman assaulted Sheriff by jumping on back, wrapping arms around neck nearly choking him; reference to a lot of dead bodies; reference to people getting killed left and right not being normal; results of man poisoned was by cyanide; man had a black eye and scratches on arm;  whapping of tree branches while going through the woods; reference to having to kill someone; being stuck on an island with a potential killer; digging a person sized hole; thought of what it would be like to be dead; shovel raised with sharp edge; hit in shins with paddle; tripped; island set on fire; thought of escaping being burned to death to drown; someone shot holes in boat as sabotage; thought of someone getting a shot gun, splitting maul, or something to do something terrible; threat to run over with a bulldozer.

Sex/Nudity:  Man stroked woman’s arm; warm hand on small of back; man takes shirt off; hand on arm; takes by hand; holding hand; thought of man stripping in next room distracting to girl; plays with foot.

Mature Subject Matter:

Murders; Deaths; Underage drinking; Conspiracy.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

A few references to underage drinking; drinking at a party including underage drinking of hard liquor and adults drinking wine and beer; spiked lemonade; reference to getting smashed; reference to mixed drinks; drunk man; potential shady drug deal; reference to a night cap; reference to public drunken nights; 3 references to someone smoking a cigarette; adult offers drink to an underage minor.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My favorite books are ones that change me and my perceptions of the world in a significant way. My favorite genre is probably historical fiction with biographies as a close second.