Review of Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

Elise and Franklin have always been best friends. Elise has always lived in the big house with her loving Uncle and Aunt, because Elise's parents died when she was too young to remember them. There's always been a barn behind the house with eight locked doors on the second floor.

When Elise and Franklin start middle school, things feel all wrong. Bullying. Not fitting in. Franklin suddenly seems babyish. Then, soon after her 12th birthday, Elise receives a mysterious key left for her by her father. A key that unlocks one of the eight doors upstairs in the barn...

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I purchased this along with Love, Aubrey - Suzanne's first book about a year ago now if not longer and just this morning found myself picking this book up off of my shelf and opening the pages. It's late now and I've read every page. Eight Keys is perfect for a rainy day read as with just over 200 pages it doesn't take up much of your time but is long enough to leave a smile on your face.

Eight Keys is a story we can all relate to, that period in your life where you're transitioning from a child into a teenager and you have to cope with a lot of new challenges and new rules about what it means to be 'cool'. What I loved best about this book is that it shows that this period does happen to everyone, the mean girl doesn't just wake up one day and decide to be mean. There's a real danger of Elise becoming just like her as she pushes away her closest friend, Franklin.

I was surprised to find that I didn't feel like the keys and what they unlock were the biggest part of this story - Elise's journey was. She's lost both her parents at a very young age and sometimes remembers them reading to her, or an old toy but only little things. However, her Aunt and Uncle are there to support her every step of the way. I loved these two characters as they brought a lot of warmth and love to the story. I often find that parental figures in books just get on my nerves as writers have a tendency to write them very strict, but this wasn't the case here.

I'd definitely recommend this cosy read to anyone, young or old. There's no profanities or even as much as kissing so parents can happy hand it to their children to read without any worries. Now I just have to find out where on my shelves Love, Aubrey is lurking - with over 400 books it may take a little while!



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