The Mystery of Grimly Manor
by Donna Wren Carson
Author Reputation Press

"It was totally creepy not only because of the way it looked, but strange things happened there that never got explained—except with rumors."

When two new families move into the neighborhood, eleven-year-old Leira is overjoyed to find they each have daughters her age. As she forges new friendships with Addy and Skye, they become inseparable and embark on adventures, dares, and wholesome fun in the neighborhood. They are all drawn to one particular place nearby that is shrouded in creepy stories and rampant rumors. The girls can see Grimly Manor from their homes and the adjacent cemetery, and they know that Mr. Grimly is never seen outside. All the kids are afraid of the house and the mysterious Mr. Grimly, and the grown-ups tell them to stay away from the manor. But the girls' curiosity gets the best of them, and they grow bolder and bolder until they finally meet Mr. Grimly face to face and quickly learn that nothing is as it seems.

Carson expertly captures the innocence of girlhood and the comfort of friendship in a mostly idyllic neighborhood. The vibrant life cycle of the community is on full display through the first days of school, birthdays, holidays, snow days, and sleepovers. Lovingly rendered and in full detail, the girls' lives leap from the page as they bond over shared interests. These good-hearted friends follow their curiosity and bring the shadow of Grimly Manor into the light when they learn the true story of Mr. Grimly and his parents. His story is tragic, but the girls respond with kindness and care, leading to a heartwarming conclusion. Sometimes kids are the ones that can break through years of misunderstanding and facades to see the truth of someone's life and the toll exacted from terrible experiences. Uplifting and hopeful, this story of three friends begins with foreboding questions about an unusual house and ends with a moving narrative of sacrifice and pain.

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