Review: The Secret Library by Kekla Magoon

Posted May 3, 2024 by Richetta in Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Middle Grades / 1 Comment

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Review: The Secret Library by Kekla Magoon

I received this book for free from Hear Our Voices Book Tours & the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Review: The Secret Library by Kekla MagoonThe Secret Library by Kekla Magoon
Published by Candlewick Press on May 7, 2024
Genres: Juvenile Fiction / Action & Adventure / Pirates, Juvenile Fiction / Fantasy & Magic, Juvenile Fiction / People & Places / United States / African American & Black, Juvenile Fiction / Science Fiction / Time Travel
Pages: 384
Format: eBook, Hardcover
Source: Hear Our Voices Book Tours & the publisher
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Travel through time with National Book Award Finalist Kekla Magoon in a page-turning fantasy adventure about family secrets and finding the courage to plot your own life story.

Since Grandpa died, Dally's days are dull and restricted. She's eleven and a half years old, and her exacting single mother is already preparing her to take over the family business. Starved for adventure and release, Dally rescues a mysterious envelope from her mother's clutches, an envelope Grandpa had earmarked for her. The map she finds inside leads straight to an ancient vault, a library of secrets where each book is a portal to a precise moment in time. As Dally "checks out" adventure after adventure--including an exhilarating outing with pirates--she begins to dive deep into her family's hidden history. Soon she's visiting every day to escape the demands of the present. But the library has secrets of its own, intentions that would shape her life as surely as her mother's meticulous plans. What will Dally choose? Equal parts mystery and adventure--with a biracial child puzzling out her identity alongside the legacy of the past--this masterful middle-grade fantasy rivets with crackling prose, playful plot twists, and timeless themes. A satisfying choice for fans of Kindred and When You Reach Me.

Shh! It’s a secret but this secret library is exactly what it says it is. I’ll let you think about it for a second. Yup! That’s right, this library is full of volumes of secrets. Welcome to my stop on The Secret Library by Kekla Magoon hosted by Hear Our Voices Book Tours

This is a middle grade adventure novel that incorporates family secrets, history and adventure. 11 year old Dally is in mourning for her beloved grandfather who has recently passed away. She lives with her wealthy mother in a huge family estate. Her mother makes her take business classes after school so that she will be prepared to takeover the family business. But the classes conflict with an opportunity to join the Adventure Club, something her grandfather would have encouraged.

Adventure, Pirates and Secrets

Dally is an inquisitive character. She tries to play by her mother’s rules but finds a way to make things work so she can fit in her new adventures at the Secret Library. At the library, she finds the adventure that fills the void left by her grandfather. Each book holds a secret, a moment in time that she can travel back to and be part of the event. Along the way she meets a friend named Jack, and pirates. There is LGBQT rep. During her adventures, Dally also learns about the connection between systemic racism and her family as well as learning empathy for how others grieve.

Check out the Audiobook

My daughter was in the car while I was listening to the audiobook, & immediately became interested. I recommend the audiobook, narrated by Nekia Renee Martin, the narrator’s use of accents helps tie into the plot. There were a few things that I didn’t pick up on the first read that I noticed once I started listening to the audiobook.

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Twists and Turns

There are twists and turns and definitely lots of secrets entwined in the plot of this book. One of them blew me out the water! I’m trying so hard not to spoil anything. I definitely got into it as an adult reader. At certain points, I felt there was some thought and dialogue attributed to Dally that felt a little preachy. But I think kids who are into history and mystery will really like it.

Book Tour Ticket

One response to “Review: The Secret Library by Kekla Magoon

  1. Children of that age are constantly preached at. It’s a law of nature since we’re not born with sufficient genetically memory to get around in our complex civilization. That’s why young children like the idea of “secret places” where they can find out things on their own.

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