Shawna and Thea are working together on a math project for their eighth-grade class. But the numbers don't add up, and they make a startling discovery: a secret room in the basement of Thea's house, an old Vermont inn. The code on the walls makes the girls and everyone in town wonder why there was a secret room. Was it part of the Underground Railroad, or perhaps something less, well, heroic? Discovering the truth is harder than they would have thought, especially when the truth is not what some people want to hear.The first review for the book came from New England novelist Howard Frank Mosher, whose books Disappearances, Where the Rivers Flow North, and A Stranger in the Kingdom are much-appreciated classics on our shelves. Mr. Mosher wrote:
American history, friendship, family ties, nature, community. These are some of the themes that Beth Kanell explores in this beautifully written and ever-so-timely novel. The Secret Room is at once a superb, young-adult suspense story, and one of the best, and most realistic, literary mystery novels I've ever read. At its heart are two wonderful young friends and not-so-amateur detectives, Thea and Shawna. What they learn about themselves, their community, and their state and country, past and present, will astonish and delight you. The Secret Room is a masterwork in which every sentence is lovingly crafted and written straight from the heart.And as you can tell, this is an author who quickly recognizes work "straight from the heart" because that's what he does in his own novels. Thank you again, Howard!
If you're a Goodreads fan, you can find teacher Tim Averill's appraisal of the book online there; if you like Amazon, you'll see what MamaBear wrote.
Best of all, find an independent and order the book there. Or, in New England, come to one of the celebrations that begin this week: