Chat rooms and ghosts

The Secret of Grim Hill

By Angela Carr

A review of The Secret Of Grim Hill by Linda De Meulemeester

Published on July 1, 2007

The Secret Of Grim Hill
Linda De Meulemeester

Lobster Press
$12.95
paper
192pp
978-1897073537

The years of early adolescence are a time when kids may need a little nudge to make reading and literature seem cool. This new novel, which pivots on the protagonist’s love of those things, does the trick. Reading and researching in the library and on the internet helps an adolescent girl rescue her sister from a fairy enchantment. What’s more, this young person is reading and writing in an utterly contemporary world of corporate logos, pop culture references and internet shorthand.

In the spooky fantasy novel, The Secret of Grim Hill, sarcastic Cat Peters is the new girl in town at Darkmount High. She has no friends among the students, and even the teachers are mean. Try as Cat may to maintain a positive attitude, she just doesn’t like the school and would rather go to Grimoire High, a private school nearby. Her single mom can’t afford the tuition, so Cat gets involved in a soccer competition, hoping for a scholarship. She quickly finds out that being on the soccer team comes with the perk of popularity among her peers. As Cat enjoys her new-found status, she notices weird things start to happen to all the girls on the team.

Cat’s mom works more and more overtime, leaving Cat with the responsibility of looking after Sookie, her younger sister. Sookie is young enough not to be fooled by magic’s glamour, but Cat doesn’t listen to her warning – until the day Sookie goes missing. Cat is frantic. Her mother doesn’t even remember who Sookie is. No one does. Luckily Cat’s geeky, glasses-wearing friend Jasper and the mysterious Alice Greystone are willing to help her unravel the mystery. They discover that every girl who has ever played in the Grimoire soccer matches has disappeared, leaving not even a memory behind. By poking around in the library and doing research about Celtic myth and the history of Halloween, Cat finds a real grimoire, a magic book. She finds out that she is protected from the spell, but still can’t find her sister.

The Secret of Grim Hill is about Cat trying to make friends, but in the end, when she can’t find her sister, she realizes that popularity isn’t what’s most important to her. But don’t be mistaken, this is not a moralizing novel. It’s a light and adventurous summer read. mRb

Angela Carr is a Montreal writer.

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