The Secret TreeFeatured
"Minty" (Araminta) Mortimer and her best friend Paz are ready for a summer filled with fun--and especially looking forward to their roller-derby routine they have planned for their neighborhood's July 4th parade. But what Minty doesn't realize is her friendship--and life--is about to turn upside down when she gains access to all of her neighbor's secrets.
This book has a small element of magic/fantasy, but is mostly rooted in our everyday world--reality. It's that teensy bit of magic that catapults everything into high gear right from the first chapter, and Natalie Standiford's grasp on a middle-schooler's mind and problems is impeccable. The emotions and thoughts I had at the age of 11 came flooding back into my heart and mind as I turned page after page. She just knew how to connect with virtually everything a preteen and teenager is going through. The characters all had so much depth and felt so real. By the end I felt like all of her friends were my friend. With her newfound access to others' secrets and a new, mysterious friend she makes while trying to connect the secrets to their owners, Minty learns, in a beautiful, dynamic way, to not judge a book (or person) by it's cover.