Secret of Goldenrod
by O’reilly, Jane

"Fifth-grader Trina, who has never lived anywhere long enough to call home, is excited about moving into Goldenrod, an abandoned mansion, with her dad. But soon Goldenrod brings its secrets to her attention, including a forgotten doll, leaving Trina wondering what the old house wants from her"-

*Starred Review* New Royal, Iowa-population of 397-is convinced that Goldenrod, the abandoned Victorian mansion outside of town, is haunted, because of its tragic history. Almost-11-year-old Trina Maxell is convinced, as well, when she and her handyman father arrive with a year-long contract to make the structure habitable again. However, to Trina, a year in a house is as close to having a permanent home as she's ever had. Poking around the upstairs rooms, she discovers a dollhouse and Augustine, a century-old talking porcelain doll who becomes her first friend, confidante, and mentor. Trina's desire to learn the history of Goldenrod helps her uncover the source of the legends and understand what Goldenrod has been trying to tell her. Trina vows to make things right again for Augustine, Goldenrod, New Royal, and Annie, the little girl who lived in Goldenrod in 1912. O'Reilly's debut integrates elements of spooky otherworldliness with beautiful writing to create a complex story of loss, longing, and hope that is populated by endearing characters. This wistful and superlative coming-of-age story highlights the discovery of friendship and belonging in an otherwise chaotic world. Perfect for readers who crave contemporary stories that feel like a classic, this is one to be reread and enjoyed many times over. Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.

A young girl and her father, both white, move into a run-down mansion that is reputed to be haunted.When almost-11-year-old Trina Maxwell's father takes a job to restore a decrepit Queen Anne mansion known as Goldenrod on the outskirts of New Royal, Iowa (population 397), Trina isn't thrilled. It's another move in a lifetime of moves since her mother left nearly eight years ago, and besides, the house is spooky. Things don't get better when Trina enters the fifth grade at the new school, since her classmates have known one another since kindergarten and don't seem to welcome a newcomer-especially one that lives at Goldenrod. When Trina discovers an old dollhouse and a surprising doll in the mansion's turret room, she begins to research the first occupants of the house, which include a little girl, Annie, the original owner of the doll. In a pitch-perfect, third-person narration, Trina discovers why the townspeople fear Goldenrod, even as her own fears subside when she realizes the house is trying to tell her something. O'Reilly's multilayered story is superbly presented. Loss, acceptance, coming together to accomplish goals, facing fears, and overcoming rejection are all bathed in the golden light that is the richness of living. This solid middle-grade book shines with wisdom and compassion. (Fantasy. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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