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Juniper Berry by M. P. Kozlowsky
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Juniper Berry (edition 2011)

by M. P. Kozlowsky, Erwin Madrid (Illustrator)

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Member:lovemybooks
Title:Juniper Berry
Authors:M. P. Kozlowsky
Other authors:Erwin Madrid (Illustrator)
Info:Walden Pond Press (2011), Hardcover, 240 pages
Collections:Your library
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Juniper Berry by M. P. Kozlowsky

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Review to come soon. Such a devishly and spooky MG book! ( )
  Bookaliciouspam | Sep 20, 2013 |
From August 2011 SLJ:
Gr 4-6–Juniper Berry misses the days when her parents were less famous. They have become two of the most recognizable actors in the world, and the 11-year-old rattles around their mansion with only her dog for company. Even when her mother and father are home, they are too preoccupied to act out the plays that she writes for them. When Juniper meets a boy wandering around the grounds, he tells her he has noticed a similar withdrawal in his parents and believes the adults’ strange behavior is linked to a mysterious tree on Juniper’s property. As she and Giles explore the tree more thoroughly, they find a hole in its base and a staircase. They discover an underground lair that is the home of Skeksyl, a shadowy creature that trades in special balloons. Those who agree to breathe into one will have their innermost desires fulfilled. As the children are drawn deeper into the eerie world, they realize that their parents have fallen victim to Skeksyl’s temptations and must find a way to reclaim their souls and restore the unity that their families once enjoyed. While Kozlowsky’s imagined world is an original one, readers are never truly drawn in as events unfold, and even the main characters come across as flat and unappealing. Lyn Gardner’s Into the Woods (Random, 2007) and N. D. Wilson’s “100 Cupboards” trilogy (Random) are better choices for fantasy lovers who enjoy themes of the importance of family. Full-page, atmospheric illustrations appear throughout.–Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA ( )
  KimJD | Apr 8, 2013 |
Solidly told story, with some vivid imagery and characters as well as some important themes including finding and being yourself (and being content with it), love, hope, and courage. Some pacing issues and the "other world" could have been fleshed out more, the climax came too sudden and was over too fast and easily, and I felt that the conclusion tackled a whole different issue than what was the actual one, but oh well. Nice, quick and easy fairytale-like read, suited in its chilly and at times scary atmosphere to cold and dark winter's nights (or Halloween). ( )
  byeol | Mar 31, 2013 |
this book is great it has good personification in it and some mysteries. this book includes this girl named juniper berry and here parents are famous actors and they found a secret tree but inside this tree is something different down there but scary at the same time. but down there something happens to her parents and she has to save them. ( )
  ashley5 | Oct 3, 2012 |
One of the interesting things about reviewing galleys a bit *cough* late is how rapidly trends change. I received this galley at ALA Midwinter 2011 and the big thing last year seemed to be fantasies based on Grimm. Lots of buzz around those stories...now, not so much. I'm seeing a lot more talking about realistic fiction and just plain fantasies.

Of course, that might just be me.

On to the book! Juniper Berry's parents are famous actors and she loves them very much. They've always had a wonderful life together, acting out her scripts, playing games together and being a marvelous, if somewhat eccentric family. But slowly that's all changed. Now her parents hardly notice her, fans are clamoring at the gate, and Juniper feels that she's slowly becoming invisible and forgotten. She's delighted when she meets Giles, a scrawny weakling of a boy who lives next door and has sneaked in to her estate. He has something to add to the mystery - his parents also have become strangely distant and increasingly odd but he's actually followed them and thinks the solution to the mystery can be found in an ancient tree in the forest.

Together, Juniper and Giles explore a world they never knew existed and, like their parents, face their own fears, desires, and decide what they truly want most in the world. As the subtitle says, this is "A tale of terror and temptation" and while readers will recognize several fairy tale and mythic elements and characters, the real heart of the story is choosing what you want out of life and what you're willing to sacrifice to get it.

The story has an atmosphere of horror and growing tension as Juniper discovers more and more oddities about her parents, culminating in several scenes of horror. Giles' story is more centered on his temptation to be what he isn't but desperately wants to be - accepted, strong, popular, normal. Juniper wants to go back to the way things were, Giles wants to move forward to the way things might be. There's never much doubt that Juniper will choose to save her parents; but will she be strong enough?

[Note - there was no art in the galley I reviewed, so I haven't commented on that aspect]

Verdict: This book is tautly plotted and skillfully written. It's an easy read for the average middle grade reader and will appeal to those who like creepy fantasy and atmospheric, haunting tales. If you have children who like stories that are a little more thoughtful and dark, this will be the book for them. My patrons lean more towards straight fantasy and contemporary, so this isn't for us, but it would definitely find an audience in a larger library.

ISBN: 9780061998690; Published April 2011 by Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins; ARC provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter 2011
  JeanLittleLibrary | Jun 17, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061998699, Hardcover)

Juniper Berry's parents are the most beloved actor and actress in the world—but Juniper can't help but feel they haven't been quite right lately. And she and her friend Giles are determined to find out why.

On a cold and rainy night, Juniper follows her parents as they sneak out of the house and enter the woods. What she discovers is an underworld filled with contradictions: one that is terrifying and enticing, lorded over by a creature both sinister and seductive, who can sell you all the world's secrets bound in a balloon. For the first time, Juniper and Giles have a choice to make. And it will be up to them to confront their own fears in order to save the ones who couldn't.

M.P. Kozlowsky's debut is a modern-day fairy tale of terror, temptation, and ways in which it is our choices that make us who we are.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:37 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When eleven-year-old Juniper begins to suspect something is wrong with her mother and father, she and her friend Giles discover they have been selling their souls, pieces at a time, to a silver-tongued creature in a terrifying fairy-tale underworld.

(summary from another edition)

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