Sticks, Stones, and Dragon Bones by Evelyn Ink
(Summary taken from the back cover of the book.) "Follow the river of blood and you will find a coffin of leaves which will lead you to your sister, for that is who you seek. You will find her in the clutches of two great forces seeking power. They both prowl behind curtains of violence, but one can deliver only evil and the other, possible freedom. The one you seek is in the jaws of the deliverers, but you must hurry, for like meat thrown to dogs, she will be ripped apart."
Scary, right??? That is the message the main characters received from the Oracle when they were looking for their sister. I didn't know what to expect from this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. It is a clean, interesting, and different middle grade book. I love that it is so creative and different. There are no werewolves or vampires, yet, at least. There are five daughters in the Darlington family, and they are all quite the characters. Paige and Bean are in the middle, and the twins, Hayde and Dorrit are the youngest. That leaves Audra, the oldest. When Paige and Bean find an old chest and an old key, they start a chain of events that leads to their sister, Audra, being kidnapped. Each daughter is very different, and I loved all of them. The twins think they are pirates. I would have a hard time if they were my children, but since they aren't, I thought they were great. Paige and Bean each have their own talents and skills, and they can make as much mischief as the twins. The adventure these girls end up going on to find their sister is one filled with history, crazy stalker creatures, Oracles, close calls, and the help of a very nice couple. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. As you can tell, I really liked the characters and thought they were well developed. I loved the creativity and imagination in this book. There were some interesting twists and turns, and I enjoyed the ride. Some of the stunts the girls pull at the end were a little unbelievable, but it's fiction, right? It was a fun story and I enjoyed it. It ends quite abruptly, so I'm hoping book two is out already! Watch out, there are a lot of grammatical errors. Authors, please hire an editor!!! It makes a huge difference! (I have to rate it 3 instead of 4 stars because of the grammatical mistakes......)
Rating: PG (Some scarier characters, some minor violence, a main character gets kidnapped--no language or intimacy)
Recommendation: 3rd grade and up
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.