The Whispering Pines – Staff Reviewed – Maddie

The Whispering Pines by Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski (Request)

A year ago, Rae’s father disappeared and while she knows what happened to him- he was actually taken- no one believes her. When her mom decided to move the family across the country, Rae wasn’t thrilled but figured it could be a chance at a fresh start and normalcy. But Whispering Pines is anything but normal, which is clear from the town’s rules.

Caden is all too familiar with the weirdness of Whispering Pines, having lived there his entire life and occasionally partaking in his mom’s paranormal business. When multiple students start to go missing only to show up again without their eyes, the two realize there may be more to the case than they realized… but can they stop whatever’s taking their fellow students before it comes for them?

The Whispering Pines is a middle grade (juvenile) fiction that can be a little scary at times for younger readers, but is a fun read overall. I liked the paranormal elements brought into the story, especially reading it so close to Halloween. If you enjoyed this book like I did, check out the next book in the series, Infestation, which just came out this year. Whispering Pines is also a 2021-2022 Maine Student Book Award nominee.

4 stars

How I Became a Spy – Staff Pick – Haley

How I became a spy : a mystery of WWII London by Deborah Hopkinson (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Are you looking for a book to enjoy with your middle reader? How I Became a Spy is a fun mystery filled with action, ciphers, and a group of unlikely heroes. Bertie Bradshaw and his dog, Little Roo, embark on an accidental adventure when they meet Eleanor, an American girl, during an air raid. With the assistance of Bertie’s friend David, the three must work together to find a missing secret agent.

This book is well written, fast paced, and draws you in to the adventure. In addition to the historical relevance, there are also deeper story lines which explore the feelings of friendship, loss, and forgiveness, but at the same time it keeps a light tone. Added bonus, the book also teaches about ciphers and there are a few with instructions on how the reader can solve them.

4 Stars