Title: The Secret of Spruce Knoll
Author: Heather McCorkle
Publisher: Abbott Press
Pages: Paperback; 252
Release Date: August 15, 2011
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy paranormal aspects, and a quick romance.
Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Librarything / Amazon / B&N
It’s hard enough being a teenager under normal circumstances; imagine being orphaned, sent to live with an unfamiliar aunt—and learning that there really is magic in the world. Following the tragic death of her parents, Eren Donovan moves to Spruce Knoll to live with her aunt. Little does Eren know the entire town of Spruce Knoll is filled with “channelers”—a magical group of people who immigrated to the small Colorado town when they were driven out of their own lands.
Channelers are tied to the fate of the world. As the world slowly dies, so do they—and they alone have the power to stop the destruction of Earth. Now, Eren learns she not only lives among them, but she is one. When she meets local boy Aiden, his charm convinces her that being a channeler may not be all bad.
As Eren and Aiden’s relationship blooms, so too does a mystery in Spruce Knoll. The town holds many secrets—and many enemies. It soon becomes apparent that the untimely death of Eren’s parents-and Aidens-was no accident and that her life might be in danger, too. Only time will tell if Eren has the power to protect the people she has come to love.
When Heather McCorkle first contacted me to read The Secret of Spurce Knoll, I was enamored with the synopsis. Any book that deals with magic in a real world setting takes my heart instantly. Why? Well perhaps I'm a dreamer, but I like to think it's really out there somewhere. Who knows. People like Eren could be living somewhere and we'd never even know it! I digress though. Let's get on to the review!
Let's start with what I really liked about this book. Eren's character was fascinating to me from the beginning. Partially because of her new found abilities, but also because of her dual heritage. See, Heather McCorkle has created a character that has both Mayan and Irish background. Of course this causes all sorts of problems for her in the long run. The society in which Eren has found herself has very clear lines drawn between the four heritages that occupy it. What is a girl to do who doesn't really fall on either side? Cue dramatic tension, and some fantastic world building.
I was also very drawn in by how quickly the premise of this book really takes off. From the very beginning it is evident that Eren's parents didn't just die in a freak accident like most people think. Something happened to them that seems rather... off. I won't spoil anything at all, but I will say that everything is revealed as the story progresses. Very well I might add. There always seems to be just enough information given to keep you guessing, without making things move too slowly. The Secret of Spruce Knoll is, for the most part, a wonderfully paced read.
Now you're wondering why I marked this a star below, if I enjoyed it so much. Correct? I'll tell you honestly, it was the interaction between the characters. Eren was a wonderful protagonist, but it never felt like she really grew into her own. Eren's actions are very safe, and neutral most times. I didn't feel much of anything for her at all, and since I felt mediocre about her character, there were times when I felt mediocre about the overall story. What really struck me most though about Eren's character was how quickly she fell for Aiden. "Insta-love" is a big issue for me personally, as a reader. I would have liked to see more buildup between them, so I could feel more invested in their relationship.
The bottom line? Fantastic world-building, a unique and interesting premise, characters I just didn't fall for. The Secret of Spruce Knoll was a quick read, and one that I honestly did enjoy overall. A huge thank you to Heather McCorkle for a review copy, and for allowing me to share my honest opinion with you all. For a debut novel, this one was right on the money. I will be keeping by eye on this author for more.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.