KidsPost Summer Book Club: ‘Otherwood’

|     Mary Quattlebaum     |

Otherwood By Pete Hautman

Ages eight to 12

STUEY and Elly are soul mates, born on the same day. Quiet, artistic Stuey is very different from lively, talkative Elly, but somehow they deeply understand each other.

And they are drawn to the same hidden place in woods near their homes: a large flat rock under a group of fallen trees called the “deadfall”.

A place where time and space mysteriously seem to shift, where Stuey sometimes hears music and voices but sees no one.

Then Stuey learns a secret about his great-grandfather and Elly’s, about their bitter hatred for each other, long ago.

Stuey knows his great-grandfather only from his Grandpa Zach’s stories.

Otherwood by Pete Hautman

But before Grandpa Zach died, he spoke of ghosts he had seen, of the way the woods were devouring the old family golf course.

And Stuey soon learns that the woods can devour other things as well.

Stuey tries to get to the heart of the family secret and its effect on people in the present.

He questions the odd “mushroom man” in the woods.

He desperately searches Grandpa Zach’s books about quantum physics.

He looks for clues in his grandpa’s barely legible writing.

And he remembers Grandpa Zach saying that “secrets have the power to break the world in two.”

As you read, you’ll see why this eerie, gripping novel won this year’s Edgar Allan Poe award for best mystery for young people.

Slowly, Stuey excavates the truth. He hopes that his actions will be able to right a long-ago wrong. But even if he does, can that be enough to heal his broken world? – Text and photo by The Washington Post