The Secret Life of Sam
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.
When Sam’s dad dies in a car accident, Sam is shuttled off to the dusty town of Holler, Oklahoma, to live with a long-lost aunt. There he encounters a mysterious mangy cat who leads him to an unassuming tree that turns out to be a portal-a passage through which Sam can revisit his old life for a few minutes at a time.
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-no matter what it takes.
"Ventrella brilliantly renders Sam's gentle nature, defensiveness, and deep sadness; her evocative prose and the small but resonant cast shine, and Sam's voice effectively relays his path toward the other side of grief." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review) "The magic is rooted in evocative descriptions and strong emotions. Magically mesmerizing and moving." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Praise for Kim Ventrella: "Set in the rural South, the syrup-soaked, rich imagery is a sensory delight. Gabe's voice is distinct, and the evolution of his conflict reinforces the humanity amid the magic. A heck of a good read about the bright side of some durn bad luck." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Skeleton Tree is a powerful and tender story. Kim Ventrella knows when to be playful and when to break your heart." -- Cassie Beasley, New York Times bestselling author of Circus Mirandus
"Ventrella's comforting storytelling reveals a magical world where a skeleton can grow and where a family's love for each other can provide healing." -- School Library Journal "Ventrella fearlessly tackles the sensitive subject of death for a middle grade audience." -- Booklist "[An] emotional roller coaster tempered by a touch of magic and a resilient, likable protagonist." -- Kirkus Reviews "Quietly powerful; dark yet whimsical." -- Booklist
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