A 2019 Edgar Award Winner!
What happened in the woods that day? Pete Hautman’s riveting middle-grade novel touches on secrets and mysteries — and the power of connections with family and friends.
“Hatred combined with lies and secrets can break the world.” Grandpa Zach used to say that before he died, but Stuey never really knew what he meant. It was kind of like how he used to talk about quantum physics or how he used to say ghosts haunted their overgrown golf course. But then one day, after Stuey and his best friend, Elly Rose, spend countless afternoons in the deadfall in the middle of the woods, something totally unbelievable happens. As Stuey and Elly Rose struggle to come to grips with their lives after that reality-splitting moment, all the things Grandpa Zach used to say start to make a lot more sense. This is a book about memory and loss and the destructive nature of secrets, but also about the way friendship, truth, and perseverance have the ability to knit a torn-apart world back together.
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)|
|Age Range:||8 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Pete Hautman is the author of many books for young adults and adults, including the National Book Award–winning Godless, the Klaatu Diskos trilogy, and Eden West. His most recent book for middle-grade readers is Slider, which Booklist lauded for its “crystalline prose, delectable detail, and rip-roaring humor.” Pete Hautman divides his time between Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
You don't often come across quantum mechanics in middle grade novels, but we have a many-worlds interpretation here, and it does make you think. This book has a lot going on, but it comes together nicely, and I found it hard to put down. We have Stuey and Elly, who share the same birthday and decide that makes them soulmates. They have a secret place in the woods that serves as both castle and ship for the adventures of their imaginations, until one day when they feel something shift, and Elly disappears before Stuey's eyes. What follows covers the usual things- dealing with the loss of someone, making new friends, growing out of playing make believe, the world changing, but also deals with the possibility of multiple timelines, alternate realities, and ghosts of the past affecting the present. How will Stuey and Elly set things right and fix the split in reality? I stayed up all night finding out!
Nine year old Stuey loves wandering in the woods his great-grandfather once owned. According to his grandfather, the area was once a golf course until it closed and the wild of the woods took over. Stuey's favorite spot is a deadfall where a number of trees fell creating a tepee-like structure that makes the perfect secret place. Speaking of secrets, Stuey's grandfather had something to say about secrets, too. He told Stuey that secrets can split reality. If you have a secret from someone, that means that you live in one reality with the secret and they live in another reality without the secret. Grandfather also believed in ghosts. All of Grandfather's wisdom usually confused Stuey, but after the old man died and Stuey met a new friend named Elly Rose, secrets and ghosts came to have a more important meaning. The threat that the woods were to be destroyed to build a mall and then the disappearance of Elly Rose change things forever for Stuey. Author Pete Hautman combines reality and fantasy in this unique tale. Readers will ask questions about the real possibilities of parallel worlds and ghostly intervention after they read about the friendship of Stuey and Elly Rose and their adventures in Westdale Wood.
Stuey is going on 9 and lives with his widowed mom and grandfather, who’s his best friend. His grandfather has such incredible stories to tell about his father; a bootlegger who bought land to create a golf course and who disappeared without a trace one night. Grandpa Zach dies during an awful storm, and Mom locks away the pages of the book he was writing. There are family secrets that Zach is desperate to know about, but he puts that on hold when he meets Elly Rose, a girl his age who’s new to his town. School’s out, and his friends don’t live nearby, so Elly and her amazing imagination sustain Zach – until something happens between their mothers; something neither of them want to discuss. Zach and Elly meet in secret in the woods, at Elly’s “Castle Rose”, where they share stories. One day, though, the unbelievable happens, and reality splits between the friends. Stuey and Elly Rose separately work to find one another and make things right again. Candlewick’s authors are bringing it this Fall! I’ve been making my way through their Fall list and have been consumed with each book on it. Otherwood is a fantastic story of friendship, secrets, and loss. We have two narratives that work readers through each main character’s struggle to understand what’s going on and how to fix things while peeling away the layers of secrets that engulf their families. There’s some quantum physics and discussion on alternate reality that will interest science and fantasy fans, and the frustration of fighting against ingrained, linear thinking (i.e., adult thinking) will resonate with readers. Can forgiveness bring two worlds back together? Only one way to find out. Otherwood is a compulsively readable novel with likable characters and an incredible story. A definite must-add to middle grade collections, and a great book to give to your fantasy fans that want something a little more based in reality. Or that uses reality as a jumping-off point. This one’s going on my Mock Newbery list. Booktalk this one with your When You Reach Me (Rebecca Stead) fans. Pete Hautman is a National Book Award winner whose website has links to his author blog, teacher guides, and writing tips. Otherwood has starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus.
Thank you NetGalley, Candlewick Press and author, Pete Hautman, for giving me a copy of OTHERWOOD in exchange for my honest review! ~~~ The following review will post on my website on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 9 am. ~~~ When I first began reading Otherwood, I immediately related Stuey and Elly Rose’s relationship to that of Carl Fredricksen and his late wife, Ellie, from the Disney-Pixar movie Up. Quiet Stuey meets outgoing Elly Rose, and immediately the bond is created, making this unbreakable friendship. When Elly Rose tells Stuey that they are soul mates, my love for their relationship grew, not knowing that once the reality-splitting moment occurred, that I would really and truly understand that they are soul mates. Pete Hautman then surprised me more by very subtly laying the groundwork to explain quantum physics, a concept he had been mentioning throughout the book in reference to Stuey’s grandfather, Zach, and his love to study it. But quantum physics, friendship and soul mates aren’t the only lessons Pete teaches; he teaches how you honor the memory of those you’ve lost and how destructive secrets can be. Otherwood is a fantastical story that helps young readers to understand the basic principles behind unbreakable friendship, soul mates, and quantum physics. I highly recommend it to young readers and adults alike! From one bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix. —Dani Dani's Score out of 5: (A bookmark:, is a half a stack of books. i.e: = a score of 2.5)