A sweet story of a tree that's literally filled with secrets.
What is your secret?
Minty's neighborhood is full of mysteries. There's the Witch House, a spooky old farmhouse on the other side of woods from where Minty and her best friend, Paz, live. There's the Man Bat, a seven-foot-tall half man, half bat who is rumored to fly through the woods. And there are the Mean Boys, David and Troy, who torment Minty for no reason, and her boy-crazy older sister, Thea, who acts weirder and weirder.
One day Minty spots a flash in the woods, and when she chases after it, she discovers a new mystery -- a Secret Tree, with a hollow trunk that holds the secrets of everyone in the neighborhood. Secrets like:
I put a curse on my enemy. And it's working.
I'm betraying my best friend in a terrible way.
No one loves me except my goldfish.
Filled with summertime warmth and a neighborhood full of characters that readers will wish lived next door, Standiford s (Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters) story delights and satisfies. The summer before middle school, Minty and her best friend, Paz, plan to master some roller derby moves, annoy their older sisters, and stay away from the bothersome Mean Boys down the street. But then Minty discovers a secret in the nearby woods a tree where her neighbors leave anonymous, heartfelt, and sometimes heart-wrenching secrets ( Im so stoopid. Im affraid something is rong with my brane, reads one). Then Minty meets enigmatic Raymond, who has a connection to the Witch Lady who lives on the other side of the woods. Raymond knows about the mysterious tree, too, and he enlists Minty s help to figure out who the tree s secrets belong to. The intimate neighborhood setting with its mysteries, superstitions, and traditions the authenticity of Minty s voice, and her worries about the transitioning nature of her life and friendships give Standiford s story a richness that will stay with readers. Ages 9 12.