Summer is over; school is back on and before you know it, it will be time for the Spooky Season. Halloween brings the opportunity for all kinds of magic and mayhem, especially when the fae cross into our world. And have I got a book for you…
THE BOOK OF SECRETS
author: Alex Dunne
cover illustration: Shona Shirley MacDonald
O’Brien Press (5 September 2022)
Eleven-year-old Cat Donnelly and her friends spend their final day of school before midterm break swapping scary stories and planning the ultimate trick-or-treating strategy. And the Pooka awakes from his decades long sleep, disturbed by Other Worldly happenings. For the first time in over fifty years, the Sídhe, the Trooping Fairies arrive in the small town of Clonbridge for their annual revels. Their arrival awakens other creatures, who have mischief and chaos in mind. With the Fairies back in town and other fae creatures on the prowl, this Halloween will be one Cat will never forget. Cat has the Sight, like her Granny Mary. This makes her a magnet for all things supernatural. But when the wild magic hurts her family, she needs to find a friend she can really trust. Together, Cat and Shane face the peril and must use all their wits and bravery to save those they love before the sun rises. Luckily, she has The Book of Secrets….
Throughout this book, even in its’ most mundane, “normal” situations, there is a burgeoning sense of being right on the edge. The author expertly crafts the atmosphere of Halloween; the veil between the worlds thinning, letting the other side creep in bit by bit. Setting this against a story of friendship, both present and lost, growing up, the generations in one family; it is extremely effective at creating a sense of being both real and unreal at the same time. The peril and action creep in until they take over all of Cats’ life as she clutches for some sense of safety, guidance; an anchor-hold in dangerous times. True to form, the faeries twist each circumstance to suit them, but the master of this is the Pooka. Oh, he is magnificent! Cunning, precarious, clever…a real renegade, the Pooka holds all the cards. Putting him back in his place takes every kind of wit and insight Cat can muster. There are strict rules and seeking the loopholes is a confusing, tricky business. All of this; the characterisation, dialogue, setting and human issues combine to create an adventure that cannot be missed. Once you open the book, it’s nonstop and utterly consuming. Compelling, rich in legend and imagination, The Book o f Secrets will make you rethink all your Halloween adventures.
Huge thanks to The O’Brien Press for sharing this fabulous story with me. https://obrien.ie/the-book-of-secrets