- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 16, 2008

One night, Polly is rudely awakened to find her big sister, Bree, saying goodbye to her. She says she is leaving for the woods and then leaves the room, dragging her feet behind her like a little child who doesn’t want to leave home. The next morning when Bree is missing, no one believes Polly when she says her sister has gone to the woods.

Now, Polly is on a quest to find her mysterious runaway sister who is nowhere to be found. Along with Baba, her grandmother, and a little help from her friends, she is able to change the course of her sister’s life. Using her knowledge of plants and animals, she and her friends discover “Girlwood,” a little hide-out in the woods that could hold the key to where Bree is.

Throughout the book, author Claire Dean kept me wondering what would happen to Bree and if they eventually would find her. There were so many cliffhangers that made me want to continue reading even when I knew I had to stop. I always thought the answers to my questions might be just a few pages away.

“Girlwood” also made me really appreciate the things I have in my life much more. I kept thinking, “What I would have done if I were in Polly’s situation,” and I couldn’t imagine the emotions I’d be feeling. Even with all of the hardships in her life, she stays connected to her remarkable friends, who help her cope with her sadness. I think my friends would do the same for me, and I would for them as well.

This wonderfully written book kept me glued to the pages from beginning to end. Polly’s fast-paced, unpredictable adventures definitely will spark discussion for everyone who reads this spectacular novel!



Will “Girlwood” unlock the key to Bree’s hiding place? Will Bree ever be found alive? Will Polly’s life change for the better or for the worse? How will Polly react to her sister’s disappearance? But most importantly, will Bree survive?

I would highly recommend this book for girls ages 10 to 13.

RATING: Four stars

BOOK: “Girlwood”

AUTHOR: Claire Dean

PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Company (May 2008), hardcover, 256 pages

READING LEVEL: Young adult

PRICE: $16

INFORMATION: houghtonmifflinbooks.com

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