4 out of 4 stars
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The Light in the Trees by Jeff Van Valer is a novel written for young adults. The book tells the story of Ted and how one summer altered his life. He arrived at camp, a lonely and grieving, 12-year-old boy. He left as a man, carrying a secret that matured him by several years. What happened at White Birch Camp?
A group of young boys spends the summer camping at the White Birch Camp in upper Michigan. Ted is in Cabin Seven. This is his third year at camp, so he the veteran camper. Ted gives his perspective of what occurred that summer.
And what about the light that Ted sees in the trees across the lake? Initially, he imagines it is his deceased mother talking to him. As the summer progresses, his curiosity mounts. Does he have the courage to investigate the light? What would happen if his camp buddies from Cabin Seven accompanied him?
At first glance, you might think this is merely a book for young people. Your supposition would be wrong. Van Valer writes in a truly compelling way. He creates a tremendous emotional bond between readers and the campers in Cabin Seven. The process of character development that transforms these boys is excellent. The dialogue ties you to the boys as they get acquainted, become friends, and eventually, connive mischief.
The setting is a summer camp out in the woods, far from civilization. It becomes apparent that the author is familiar with the setting he portrays. The descriptions of the area, the trees, the water, the night sky, all place you in the camp along with the boys.
The story line may lead you to believe that the book is about camping activities. This is partially true. Apart from the traditional camp activities of swimming and canoeing, the story goes down different and unexpected paths that surprise the reader. The suspense and mystery build as the boys pull together to put their wild ideas in motion.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The writing impressed me. The author kept my attention and thrilled me with the twists and turns of the story. It was refreshing to read a text with almost no editing flaws.
I highly recommend this well-written story. Young adults will enjoy this novel and relate to the feelings, ideas and situations portrayed. Fans of suspense and mystery will also find this story very satisfying.
The Light in the Trees
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