Friday, August 05, 2011

REVIEW: Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

Last year, I read and loved Suzanne LaFleur's Love, Aubrey. In fact, it broke my heart into teeny tiny little pieces. So when I heard of Eight Keys, Suzanne's latest book, I absolutely jumped at the chance to read and review it. There's something so heartbreaking and beautiful about Suzanne LaFleur's writing style and it is no different with this her latest book, Eight Keys.

Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur is the story of Elise, who lives with her aunt and uncle after both of her parents died when she was very little. She and her best friend Franklin love having swordfights and pretending to be knights and catching frogs and doing sciencey things together. But everything seems to change as they both begin middle school.

Elise has to share a locker with the really mean, Amanda, who calls her names and squashes her lunch every day. Amanda makes fun of Elise and her relationship with Franklin, who the other kids think of as slightly strange. And at the same time as this bullying from Amanda, Elise feels under pressure to keep up with the added responsibilities and schoolwork that comes with middle school.

Though Elise has this great support system, with friends like Franklin and her aunt and uncle and a close family friend, Elise doesn't really let anyone around her know how much she's suffering at school or the feeling of dread she feels at the thought of sharing a locker with Amanda. In fact, she pulls away from her only friend, Franklin and really shuts him out. It's only through the letters that her dad wrote to her before he died and the keys which he leaves her that open up mysterious rooms in her barn that help Elise to become more confident in herself to stand up to her bully as well as to appreciate the people in her life, including herself.

I really loved this book. I think bullying is a very important topic to address and that it is incredibly important in those difficult transitions between primary and secondary school like Elise is facing during Eight Keys. There's some really touching and heartfelt moments between Elise and her aunt and uncle that had tears streaming down my face. There's such vulnerability to Elise as she deals with all the emotions and questions and fears that she has about how and where she belongs in the world.

Each new key brings such possibility and excitement as Elise learns more about her family and her personal history. I think the whole concept of the keys and the rooms was brilliant and I felt myself being inspired. I think this is a wonderful book about friendship and family, that touches on sensitive topics and could really help benefit those struggling with self-esteem, bullying or finding a place to belong. Great book, highly recommended.


  1. Ooh, this sounds wonderful. I'm adding it to my wishlist now! Thanks for sharing the review.

  2. I'm getting sent a copy of Eight Keys also! I'm looking forward to reading it :) Glad you liked it.

  3. Great review, this book sounds fab. I love the cover too, and the idea of the keys.

  4. I keep seeing good reviews of this everywhere, I MUST pick up a copy! Great review. :-)

  5. I accepted this one for review recently. Even though I don't usually read MG I thought this one sounded good. Love, Aubrey sounds great too!

  6. wow this one sounds amazing! I really want to read her other book but I think I'll have to add this one to my wishlist too now!!

  7. I am so glad I preordered this despite it being MG on the strength of this review. I'll come back and let you know what I think when it gets here! - Elle

  8. OH! I responded to all of your comments and then blogger somehow ate it :( Let's try that again.

    Stephanie - It really is wonderful and I highly recommend it!

    prettybooks - It's a fabulous book, I hope you love it as much as I did.

    Jenni - It is a pretty great cover and I absolutely LOVE the idea of the keys and what they hold behind the doors!

    Zoe - You really MUST!

    Leanna - Both books are pretty great, I hope you enjoy :)

    Raimy - Excellent plan, I approve.

    Elle - Yes, do! I'd love to hear what you think of it :)

  9. I read this book and I loved it I highly recommend it great for a young reader too (I'm 11)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)


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