A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The House in Poplar Wood is a riveting tale of 13-year-olds growing up in a Tennessee village ruled by the Shades -- Passion, Memory, and Death -- and their attempts to free themselves and their families. Much of the trouble (and two twins' existence) dates from a time when two teens who never should have met fell in love and the girl became pregnant. A teen's violent death causes suspicion and sets assorted events in motion. Protagonists Lee, Felix, and Gretchen are strong individuals struggling with family legacies they want to escape, as well as the daily hassles of middle school. There are strong messages of friendship, family, courage, taking care of each other, and doing the right thing even when you have to figure out for yourself what that is.
What's the story?
THE HOUSE IN POPLAR WOOD sits on the outskirts of Boone Ridge, Tennessee, which like all other villages in the region is ruled by the Shades: Passion, Memory, and Death, and the families whose legacy it is to serve them and/or keep them in line. It's a house divided; on one side 13-year-old Lee Vickery lives with his mom, apprentice to the Shade Memory, while on the other side of the wall live his twin, Felix, and their dad, who serve Death. (Lee has an otherwise deaf ear, which hears only what Memory is saying; Felix has a blind eye that keeps track of what Death is up to.) Lee in particular is determined to free the twins from their bond to the Shades so they can have a real life, but previous attempts haven't gone well. Meanwhile, across town, Gretchen Whipple, the mayor's daughter, is starting to ask a lot of questions following the untimely death of a local teen -- including why she's not supposed to be friends with Lee and Felix, and delving into some family secrets of her own.
Is it any good?
K.E. Ormsbee delivers a fresh, imaginative, creepy, and cheer-worthy tale of three teens trying to break family curses, escape dark forces, and do the right thing for themselves and their loved ones. The House in Poplar Wood conjures up a seemingly ordinary town where people have long been ruled by Passion, Memory, and Death, in which there's a buried secret just about everywhere you look. Small illustrations by The Brothers Hilts at the start of each chapter help bring the distinctive protagonists Lee, Felix, and Gretchen to life.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stories where Death is a character. How does The House in Poplar Wood compare with some of the others you know? Why do you think this idea is so popular among storytellers?
Sometimes it's nice to have a family business and know there's a place for you in it -- but sometimes you just want something else. Do you think you'd like to do the same kind of work as your parents, or do you want to do something different?
If you thought your family was cursed, what would you do about it?
- Author: K.E. Ormsbee
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Middle School, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Chronicle Books
- Publication date: August 28, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 344
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: November 18, 2018
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