Saturday, July 27, 2013

Don't Let your Child Read this without You (Book Review - "Penumbras" by Braden Bell)

Penumbras is the second in the Middle Grade Magic series by Braden Bell. The previous title, The Kindling, introduced us to three middle school friends, Connor, Lexa, and Melanie, whose beginning magical powers attracted the attention of dark forces placing them in danger. 

The story continues as the classmates prepare for summer vacation. Here's a sample:

          Connor Dell didn't mean to blow up the school bus. 

          Or the bathrooms. 

          In fact, he only wanted to go to sleep and possibly dream about Melanie Stephens. 

          But explosions had a funny way of happening when Connor and his friends were 
          around. 

          It all started on the annual seventh grade field trip to the Sea Lab at Dauphin Island, 
          Alabama. Fifty-four thirteen-year-olds on a five-day field trip. What could go wrong?

          Especially when three of them happened to be Magi. 

Sounds like a novel that would capture the attention and imagination of a junior high student with plenty of action to keep them enthralled, doesn't it. Why would I recommend that you read this with your youngster? 

  1. Bell's work has many layers. Below the entertaining story line is an undercurrent of complex emotions and relationships, giving adults who have forgotten those difficult years great insight into the tween and early teen years. 
  2. The situations include friendship becoming romance, which open the door for important discussions regarding dating behavior. 
  3. Some of the characters have worries they don't express to others, allowing you a chance to pry some concerns loose from your own kid. 
  4. Reading together is a great bonding activity, and this title can be enjoyed by adolescents and adults.
  5. You don't have to worry about the content, language, or situations.
  6. The danger posed by the Darkhands gives you an opportunity to review important safety precautions with your family.
  7. A discussion of good and bad secrets will occur when you read the major plot twist in this volume. 
  8. Connor's memories of the Shadowbox allow the readers to discover that few people are entirely good or completely evil, a difficult lesson even for adults. 
  9. The emphasis is on communication and relying on trusted adults, which can help reinforce faith in parents. 
  10. It's a really, really fun book to read. 
What are you waiting for? Order an autographed copy from Dr. Bell here! Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

FTC disclosure: I was given a PDF version in exchange for an honest review.