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The timelessness of Bridge to Terabithia meets the wonder of Big Fish in this bittersweet, magical story, perfect for fans of Barbara O’Connor, Lisa Graff, and Dan Gemeinhart.
How far would you go to be with the people you love—even after they’re gone?
After Sam’s dad dies in a car accident, he’s shuttled off to the dusty town of Holler, Oklahoma to live with a long-lost aunt. He misses everything about his old life—fishing in the swamps, drinking warm cans of Orange Crush and, especially, listening to Pa weave his famous tall tales.
He hates everything about Holler, with its empty fields and dead grass, until he encounters a strangely familiar cat who leads him to a mysterious tree—a portal through which Sam can be with Pa once more.
Sam’s visits to the bayou become stranger and stranger. Pa’s old stories unfold around him in beautiful but sinister detail, and Pa is not quite himself. Still, Sam is desperate to find a way for them to stay together—until he learns the bittersweet lesson that sometimes loving someone means having to say goodbye.
Audio edition narrated by Todd Menesses.
The Secret Life of Sam is “…rooted in evocative descriptions and strong emotions… Magically mesmerizing and moving.”—Kirkus starred review
Check out the cover reveal at MG Book Village.
Download THE SECRET LIFE OF SAM Book Club Guide!
Out now!!! This book has been a true labor of love, and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with the world. It includes a ton of fun, quirky elements, like a town that’s totally obsessed with Bigfoot, a flying garden gnome, a magical junk shop, true love and so much more!
Check out my interview about HELLO, FUTURE ME with Jonathan Rosen on From the Mixed-Up Files of MG Authors blog!
Eleven-year-old June is a problem-solver. Some people might call her a busybody, but that’s okay. Just look at all the couples she’s helped find love! (Grateful newlyweds Marlene and Big Vic have even promised June free hot chocolate for life at their café.)
However, when June learns that her parents are getting divorced, she has to face the fact that there are some problems too big even for her. At least, that’s what the adults in her life keep saying.
But June’s convinced there’s a way to make her parents fall back in love. While brainstorming ideas on her new secondhand laptop—purchased from a mysterious store in town called The Shop of Last Resort—June gets a strange IM from someone named JuniePie28 . . . someone who claims to be an older version of June messaging her from the future.
At first, she assumes it’s a prank. But JuniePie28 knows too much about June’s life to be a fraud, and future June warns her against interfering. But June can’t just sit around and watch her parents’ marriage dissolve, not when there’s a magical shop in town that could be the answer to all her problems! Will June prove her older self wrong and stop the divorce? Or will she have to accept that there are some things in life she can’t fix?
Check out the expanded HELLO, FUTURE ME Book Club Guide!
In Bone Hollow, death is only the beginning…
In retrospect, it was foolish to save that chicken. On the roof. In the middle of a thunder storm. But what choice did Gabe have? If he hadn’t tried to rescue Ms. Cleo’s precious pet, she would’ve kicked him out. And while Ms. Cleo isn’t a perfect guardian, her house is the only home Gabe knows. After falling off the roof, Gabe wakes up in a room full of tearful neighbors. To his confusion, none of them seem to hear Gabe speak. It’s almost as if they think he’s dead. But Gabe’s not dead. He feels fine! So why do they insist on holding a funeral? And why does everyone scream in terror when Gabe shows up for his own candlelight vigil?
Scared and bewildered, Gabe flees with his dog, Ollie, the only creature who doesn’t tremble at the sight of him. When a mysterious girl named Wynne offers to let Gabe stay at her cozy house in a misty clearing, he gratefully accepts. Yet Wynne disappears from Bone Hollow for long stretches of time, and when a suspicious Gabe follows her, he makes a mind-blowing discovery. Wynne is Death and has been for over a century. Even more shocking . . . she’s convinced that Gabe is destined to replace her.
Skeleton Tree author Kim Ventrella returns with the wisest, funniest, and most profound middle grade adventure you’ll read in this lifetime…or the next.
“…a sensory delight. Gabe’s voice is distinct, and…reinforces the humanity amid the magic. A heck of a good read about the bright side of some durn bad luck.”–Kirkus starred review
Bonus for U.K. residents: I have an audiobook baby from Bolinda!
There are lots of things that grow in backyards. Bones aren’t one of them.
Twelve-year-old Stanly knows the bone is a little weird, but that’s okay, because now he’ll have the perfect photo to submit for the Young Discoverer’s Competition. With such a unique find he’s sure to win the grand prize. But, oddly, the bone doesn’t appear in any photos. Even stranger, it seems to be growing into a full skeleton . . . one that only children can see.
There’s just one person who doesn’t find any of this weird—Stanly’s little sister. Mischievous Miren adopts the skeleton as a friend, and soon, the two become inseparable playmates. When Miren starts to grow sick, Stanly suspects that the skeleton is responsible, and does everything in his power to drive the creature away. However, Miren is desperate not to lose her friend, forcing Stanly to question everything he’s ever believed about life, love, and the mysterious forces that connect us.
Stanly only stopped once to look back at the bones. Maybe it was his imagination, but he could have sworn the finger twitched. Like it wanted him to come closer. He remembered the feeling he’d had when he first saw the bone, like nothing would ever be the same again. The bone changed things, and no matter how hard he might try, he could never go back to before.
Check out the Skeleton Tree book trailer:
A Peek Inside the UK Edition:
Skeleton Tree was published in the UK with Macmillan Kids, where it was nominated for the 2019 Carnegie Medal. The book features 50 amazing spot illustrations by Victoria Assanelli.
Praise for SKELETON TREE
“Skeleton Tree is a powerful and tender story. Kim Ventrella knows when to be playful and when to break your heart.”—Cassie Beasley, NYT-bestelling author of Circus Mirandus
“Like Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, Skeleton Tree upends the myth of the Grim Reaper. Scary, sad, funny and always so, so sweet, Skeleton Tree will haunt me and remind me that life is miraculous when it’s rooted in hope and empathy.”—Paul Griffin, author of Burning Blue and When Friendship Followed Me Home