Sometimes a lucky ritual becomes a curse. Seventh-grader Martin Cruz hates his rotten new town, Lower Brynwood, but with his mom fighting a war in Afghanistan, he has no other choice but to live with his crazy aunt. Then he gets a message from a tree telling him it's cursed--and so is he.First Sentence:
It's not just any tree either, it's the Spirit Tree, an ancient beech the football team carves for good luck before the season opener. But every year they lose. Now the Spirit Tree is dying, and the other trees in the park are toppling around it like dominoes. The town is plagued with unexplainable accidents and people begin to fade, drained of life. Martin must team up with a know-it-all soccer star, Hannah Vaughan, if he has any chance of breaking the curse.
If they fail to save the Spirit Tree, it could mean the destruction of Lower Brynwood and a permanent case of bad luck.
Martin Cruz knew something was wrong the moment he saw Lower Brynwood from the interstate.
While I did enjoy Deadwood and the writing of Kell Andrews, this one fell a little short of my expectations. I really wanted to like it more than I did but it just took too long for things to truly happen and I was able to untangle the plot in just ten pages.
That's not to say the book is lacking in merit, just that it was a little too easy for my brain to unravel the entire plot. So, while I may have been a skosh let down with Deadwood I'm sure this is one book that many readers will enjoy...more than I did.
What worked for me:
I really enjoyed seeing the angle behind the Spirit Tree's demise and how it affected everything within the town, from the other plant life to that of the people. It was really interesting to see how the author made the Spirit Tree so interconnected with every thing there, as well, as the means which it used to communicate with Martin and Hannah as it trued to enlist their help to right the wrong of the evil one.
So yeah, the author definitely did a great job when it came to fleshing out the story-line and the how's and why's behind the downfall of Lower Brynwood. I enjoyed seeing Hannah and Martin argue and muddle their way to the answers, and, even friendship as they fought to save the Spirit Tree and those they cared about from destruction.
In short, the actual premise of the story is quite interesting in itself. I've always enjoyed reading a book where two unlikely allies team up in order to save the day. And that is part of what you'll get when you dive into Kell Andrews' Deadwood.
What didn't work for me:
Well, let's just say that from very early on, like maybe ten pages in, I knew who was behind everything, who was just a mere pawn, and why they were doing what they were doing. It was just too easy for me to figure out which was a little disappointing as I was looking forward to unraveling the mystery of the Spirit Tree...albeit at a much slower pace then I actually did.
While I found this to be a pretty predictable read, it was still interesting (if a little slow since I figured things out way before the characters ever got close to the answer).
The final thing that did not work for me in Deadwood would have to be some of the interactions between Hannah and Martin because they felt a little unlike what one normally sees within a middle grade title. While I did find certain things about their friendship to be a little odd, I really did enjoy seeing the way they worked together even when they were not getting along. Truthfully, I really enjoyed Martin's character the most.
In the end, what I really enjoyed about Deadwood would have to be the way Kell Andrews was able to write about the mystery surrounding the rapid decline of the Spirit Tree and how it created a domino like of destruction throughout the town of Lower Brynwood. It was definitely interesting seeing how she brought all the pieces together in the end, as well, as seeing the final way things settled after the truth finally came out.
The two things that kept me from truly loving this one, as much as I wanted, would have to be the ease in which I solved the mystery and that it seemed to take them ages, like the last few pages, for the characters to finally put two and two together. A little frustrating when you guess early on, but definitely worth reading for the story.
Final Verdict: Deadwood- While not as complex as I hoped, I found myself enjoying the character dialogue and following their investigations.
About the Author:
Kell Andrews writes nonfiction for adults and fiction for children. A little bit of magic helps with both. Growing up, she spent a lot of time reading, writing, drawing, and looking for treasure in the woods and on the beach. She still does. Kell holds a humanities degree from Johns Hopkins University and a master of liberal arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania. A lifelong Philadelphian, she lives with her husband and two daughters in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, right next to a park a lot like the one in Deadwood.
You can haunt Kell Andrews at-Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
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