Sometimes a lucky ritual becomes a curse. Seventh-grader Martin Cruz hates his rotten new town, Lower Brynwood, but with his mom fighting a war in Afghanistan, he has no other choice but to live with his crazy aunt. Then he gets a message from a tree telling him it's cursed--and so is he. It's not just any tree either, it's the Spirit Tree, an ancient beech the football team carves for good luck before the season opener. But every year they lose. Now the Spirit Tree is dying, and the other trees in the park are toppling around it like dominoes. The town is plagued with unexplainable accidents and people begin to fade, drained of life. Martin must team up with a know-it-all soccer star, Hannah Vaughan, if he has any chance of breaking the curse. If they fail to save the Spirit Tree, it could mean the destruction of Lower Brynwood and a permanent case of bad luck.
|Publisher:||Spencer Hill Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
|Age Range:||9 - 11 Years|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A fast-paced, enjoyable, contemporary fantasy that upper middle graders will truly enjoy! Martin is a strong, determined teen who was sent to live with his mother's cousin while she's deployed. Martin does his best to stay out of his "Aunt" Michele's way, and tries to get by on her strict regimes of eating healthy and living life to their full "brain-power" potential. He's a runner and trains as often as he can, determined to complete any marathon as long as his mother can do it with him. On his first run through Lower Brynwood aka Deadwood, he runs into a group of people performing a school ritual on a tree. He is angered that they've been damaging this poor tree for many years and tries to stop it - but what can one little teen do against a whole high school football team? After they're done, Martin is left alone with the tree and meets Hannah. Hannah is a tomboyish girl who has lived in Lower Brynwood her whole life and knows all about the Spirit Tree and most of what happens in the town. While they're standing under the tree, an unexpected storm drops in and lightening hits the tree. While they stare at the tree and watch it light up from the inside, the carvings start to light up, letter by letter, delivering a message to them. An unbelievable scary message - the town is cursed. Against their will, Martin and Hannah team up to figure out the Spirit Tree's message, why its dying? Why are there other trees in the town are dying too? Why is the town and its occupants are cursed? The story is told from three different perspectives, Martin's, Hannah's and the Spirit Tree. Reading from the tree's perspective was extremely interesting, it gives insight to how a tree would view its surroundings and history. I really enjoyed that aspect a lot. The perfect blend of relatable contemporary, supernatural elements, mystery and environmental awareness - an amazing middle grade book for all ages to read! (I received this paperback from the publisher for an honest review. My thoughts are my own.)
This is another one of those books that I didn’t pick for me but instead for my husband Chris to read to our older kids. My daughter is 8 and reading some middle grade books, and my 6 year old son just kind of listens to whatever dad has to read to them. Chris said this was definitely a dark read. He felt that if my daughter had read this by herself, she would have been scared. He feels that this is more appropriate for those actually in the middle grades and not just reading at those levels. He did say it was pretty realistic in that it seemed that Martin was portrayed as a real kid. For example, Martin always worried about his mom in Afghanistan. He also would pretend to use his iPod even though it was broken to avoid talking to anybody. There were realistic consequences to his actions and things didn’t always go as you thought they would. The small-town politics rang true to what we have experienced, not what everybody seems to think happens in small towns. Overall, Chris and the kids enjoyed this Deadwood. If there were to be a sequel, they would want to know more about Martin’s adventures and therefore would want to read the book. I received this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.