M. P. Kozlowsky
Published April 26, 2011
Received ARC from Publisher
Juniper’s parents have not been themselves lately. In fact, they have been cold, disinterested and cruel. And lonely Juniper Berry, and her equally beset friend, Giles, are determined to figure 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 in a simple red 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 novel is a modern-day fairy tale of terror, temptation, and ways in which it is our choices that make us who we are. –Goodreads
Juniper Berry is the story of an eleven year old girl who is struggling with the strange and awful ways her parents are acting and treating her. Her parents are famous movie stars – who always had time for Juniper – they played and acted and loved her more than anything. Then, slowly, her parents started to change – they became distant and moody and wanted nothing to do with the child they loved so much before. Juniper is devastated by the change in her parents – they are really her only friends and now they want nothing to do with her. One day, Juniper meets Giles out in her back yard and they realize that the same thing is happening to both of their parents. Taking matters into their own hands, the two new friends are determined to find what is destroying their parents and bring them back.
I really enjoyed this short middle grade story. It was creepy and heartbreaking and a great read for young readers who like a little bit of mystery and suspense in their stories. At the same time, Juniper Berry has a underlying message – be careful what choices you make because they can change you and not for the better.
Juniper is such a smart, courageous lead character – I like to see that for the girl reader who might be struggling to choose the right path. Giles isn’t as strong but I like that the relationship he develops with Juniper and how they played off of each other.
Overall, Juniper Berry is a great middle grade read for students who like a little bit of horror mixed in their readings. They might never look at red balloons the same way again!