4 out of 4 stars
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Kate's parents are divorced. She's used to spending every summer at a cabin in North Carolina, but she spent last summer with her mom. Now, she's determined to have a great adventure with her friends, twin brothers Pete and Seth. On one of her first days there, she stumbles upon a treehouse, which she decides to check out. There, she finds a group of men who seem shady talking about a shipment and a cave. When she fills in the twins, they are reluctant to get involved and insist it's too dangerous. Will Kate convince Pete and Seth to join in her adventure? Will they figure out what these men are up to?
Behind the Cabin Door by Deanna Ruttenberg is a children's mystery. It is a chapter book. As such, it would be most appropriate for those in the middle grades.
This book reminded me of Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys. The story moved quickly. At only 106 pages, the book can be read in a short amount of time.
The story is told by Kate in the first-person perspective. I really enjoyed Kate and her sense of adventure; she was the one that made the book come alive. Without her curious spirit and need to get to the bottom of the situation, the book wouldn't exist.
I also appreciated that the author included Kate having divorced parents. With such a high number of kids facing this same situation, it's nice for them to realize they aren't alone. This might help them to open up about their own feelings, as Kate does.
There were a few minor details that were a bit irksome. For one, Kate is constantly dragging the twins into the adventure. Time and again, she begs, they complain, and they capitulate. It gets old after a while.
Also, there are points where the book seems unrealistic. Several times Kate or Kate and the twins escape the bad guys in a way that seems impossible or very unlikely. The bad guys must have very poor eyesight or they just don't pay attention. This, though, seems understandable given the target reader.
All in all, Behind the Cabin Door would be a great book for the intended audience. Therefore, I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. Though not complex, it's exactly what a child in middle school who is looking for a mystery would enjoy reading. Adults who enjoy simplistic, quick books might appreciate this as well. It would be a good book to read together as a family, particularly if there are older children in the mix.
Behind the Cabin Door
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