July 4, 2010

A Summer Secret by Kathleen Fuller

A Summer Secret (The Mysteries of Middlefield Series)Title : A Summer Secret
Author : Kathleen Fuller
Reading Dates : 29 Jun - 30 Jun 2010
The Mysteries of Middlefield.
A Summer Secret is the first book in The Mysteries of Middlefield series. The second book, The Secrets Beneath will be coming in November 2010.

From the back cover
With three brothers, thirteen-year-old Mary Beth is tired of boyish pranks, boyish smells, and boyish irresponsibility. And it seems like she has more thatn her fair share of responsibilities, including chores and babysitting. It's no wonder she's found a place to hide from all the chaos: an abandoned barn in a neighboring field. Sure, it's about about to fall down, and Mami and Daed have forbidden her to go there, but ... she just needs a place to call her own. The old barn is her secret.

Or is it? When Mary Beth discovers clues that she may not be the only person visiting the barn, she knows her secret isn't safe anymore. But solving the mystery leads to something unexpected ... something that could put her in grave danger!

Book Summary and Review of A Summer Secret.
Manga Maniac mentioned that she's never read a book with an Amish protagonist. Well, its a first for me too. I chose the book out of curiosity but contrary to the impression given in the book description, the mystery mentioned was actually no great mystery. It is easily and quickly solved early on in the book. There is a mystery which remains unsolved but it is not the one you expected. Still, I enjoyed Mary Beth and her twin brother, Johnny's attempts to identify the person who has encroached on their secret place. It was almost like taking a trip down memory lane to those first childhood detective stories I'd read before.

The real story of A Summer Secret is how Mary Beth and Johnny handle what happens after discovering Sawyer, the orphaned runaway they find hiding in the old barn. True to their upbringing, the twins try their best to help Sawyer without frightening him off but soon realize they may have bitten off more than they can chew. I found this part of the story engrossing; Sawyer's fears of being dragged back to the foster home and the twins dilemma on how to get help for Sawyer while keeping him hidden engaged both my sympathy and interest.

Best of all is the depiction of the main protagonist's character. Mary Beth is a very real 13-year old. She's responsible and wants more than anything to be thought of as dependable by her parents but she also isn't averse to disobeying them when she believes she can away with it. Of course, she does learn the importance of adhering to her parents' injunctions at the end of the story but she wouldn't be a believable person without these moments of defiance.

As a plus, I got a glimpse into the lives of the Amish. At first, there is a sense of incredulity. It was as if these people had been displaced by time. Once you get used to it however, it is just a different way to live.

The only negative for me was the resolution of Sawyer's problem at the end. I find it very hard to believe that things could be so easily solved. I love happy endings but I just find the answer to Sawyer's situation a bit hard to swallow.

Still, A Summer Secret is an enjoyable enough read. I wouldn't purposefully search out the next book in the series but I wouldn't reject it either if I came across the book.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I am not required to write a positive review; the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

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