4 out of 5 stars
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Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill by Glenn Somodi is Book 1 in the series. Fifteen-year-old Olly and his parents move to his grandfathers' home in Littleton, Massachusetts, after a hit-and-run driver kills his grandfather. Olly and his new friend, Ember, discover many things about his grandfather, Poppy. For one, although Poppy was considered "crazy" by some, he had many loyal friends. One was Hank, who owned the local hardware store and had been friends with Poppy for years. Poppy was fired from his Harvard professor position after he ruined his reputation by talking about unknown creatures in the woods that spoke to him. Olly is suspicious about Poppy's death after learning that Henry Dalton wants to develop a mall on Oak Hill land, and he sees the items he inherited from Poppy. He and Ember set out to find Poppy's secrets about Oak Hill and try to prevent their homes from being turned into a mall. Are they successful in preserving their homes? Was Poppy's death an accident or murder? What was Poppy's secret about Oak Hill? What did Olly inherit from Poppy that made him suspicious about his death?
Glenn Somodi enhanced his descriptions by providing illustrations of a map, an artifact that Poppy left for Olly, and a keyhole that helped me picture the events in the story. I liked that these illustrations looked like something a grandparent had drawn and not a professional illustrator, which made the story more realistic. I found the character development fascinating, as I could easily visualize and understand each character. It was humorous how the bullies, Buzz and Trent, were dealt with, and I had no sympathy for them. Another thing I enjoyed about this book was how the author incorporated Native American history and folklore into the plot.
My only disappointment in this book was the need for professional editing. I recommend that the author have a professional editor edit this book to eliminate the errors and inconsistencies. Postal workers may feel offended by the way they are portrayed in this book because of their carelessness in handling packages labeled fragile. However, I found this realistic because some of the boxes I have received in the mail look like they have been used as hockey putts.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and learned a lot from it, and I would have given it a perfect score if a professional editor had edited it. I gave this enjoyable book 4 out of 5 stars because the errors did not distract from my reading enjoyment.
Young adult readers in the 10 to 18 age group, who enjoy murder mysteries, fantasy, and romance novels, are the audience I recommend this book to. However, as the author stated in the description, "kidults" will also enjoy this book. The borderline profanity and sexual content are minor, and most young adults in this age group will not be offended by them.
Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill
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