Monday, June 7, 2010

The Summer of Moonlight Secrets by Danette Haworth

Allie Jo Jackson has spent her whole life living at The Meriweather, an old-in the process of being restored-hotel in Hope Springs, Florida. Her favorite room is her personal garden room on a not-yet-restored floor where the windows are missing and kudzu vines have wound their way along the walls and ceiling. When the vines bloom, butterflies fill the room. She leaves food from breakfast every morning in the room for a black cat she names Jinx who comes and goes freely through the window openings.

Allie Jo knows every inch of the old hotel including a hidden staircase behind a camouflaged door, tunnels running under the hotel, and a speakeasie from prohibition times. Nothing unusual happens until one moonlit night Allie Jo sees the beautiful and mysterious Tara come out of the water of the springs. Tara has a secret and once Allie Jo and her friend, Chase, learn it, they have to figure out a way to help her.

The Summer of Moonlight Secrets is about a summer filled with intrigue, magic, mystery, mean girls, and a budding romance ( done so well, so cute, it brought back fond memories of innocent crushes at that age). I enjoyed everything about this book.

At first, when I realized that each character would be given alternating chapters to tell the story from their own first person point of view, I wasn't sure how that would work. However, Danette Haworth gave the reader such a complete understanding of the character's personal life, attitudes, and reactions to the plot, that I looked forward to each chapter change. The way she handled it  moved the story along without bogging down with unnecesary repetition. I also loved her unique but simple descriptions, for example, when she compared the exhaust turbines on the restaurant roof to chef's hats. Can't you just see them now?

The story of Tara was written so well it made me suspend my disbelief for a short time-I love that! I think middle graders, boys and girls alike, are going to love it, too, if they are able to find it. I say that because I checked Borders and none of them carried it. I found a copy at Barnes and Noble and found out each store only had one copy available for sale and none of them had a copy of Violet Raines Almost Got Struck By Lightning.  Children and parents are not going to find this book "just browsing" and that's such a shame. It's a sad commentary on bookstores and shelf space today, but we won't go into that.

Thanks, Danette Haworth, for a great read.


  1. This sounds great--I'll be on the hunt to look for it (sad commentary is right). Thanks, Catherine!

  2. Yes, there are many good books published each year that get overlooked. And this one sounds delightful. I've made a note of it. And thanks for coming over to my blog and commenting.

  3. You're welcome, Ann, hope things are improving at home.

  4. Thanks for the recommendation!

    There's an award for you on my blog, if you want it.

  5. Of course I want it! Thank you, Myrna!

  6. Catherine,

    Thank you for the wonderful review!


  7. Danette, you are very welcome. I'm really looking forward to your next book! You are now on my MUST READ author list. Thanks for stopping by--it made my day!

  8. I love this cover! And the book sounds great. Thanks.