Katrin's Chronicles: The Canon of Jacquelene Dyanne Vol. 1
by Valerie C. Woods
"'If you don't write your own history, somebody else will make it up for you.' And so, after enduring three years of mystery-solving adventures, 13 year-old Katrin DuBois decided it was time to write her autobiography. Who else could set the record straight about the outrageous rumors about her family? It all began when Katrin was in 6th grade. Her elder sister, 8th grader Jacquelene Dyanne, began exhibiting extraordinary, even paranormal, detecting abilities. Katrin's Chronicles take place long before laptops, the Internet, cell phones, and text messaging--Chicago, 1968, Although the time was technologically simple, the tangle of human relationships was as complex as ever. I'm sure you can relate:
If you relate to the idea that life is filled with mystery.....
If you recognize that everyone has talents waiting to be mastered.....Or,
If you understand that awakening to your hidden power is not always easy, but is the only way to truly live...
Then I welcome you to the Canon of Jacquelene Dyanne, Vol. 1, as chronicled by Katrin the Youngest. ~V.C. Woods"
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book when I received it. Unfortunately, the cover is a bit of a turn-off, but I decided not to judge it by it's cover, and I started to read. The characters are realistic and mostly believable. They are fairly well developed, especially Katrin and Jacquelene Dyanne. I think their parents and grandmother could have been developed a bit more, but they were ok. Katrin seems to act a bit old for her age, but each child is different, and it did take place in 1968, so maybe children acted older then? Katrin has a good voice for a narrator, and she uses a lot of good vocabulary words and descriptions. She even uses a few Latin phrases. J. Dyanne is an interesting character. You can tell that she has a talent but doesn't want to use it because she hates the attention that comes with it. What is her talent, you ask? Well, she is very good at deciphering clues (she's kind of like a young-girl Sherlock Holmes) and noticing details, and she puts them together quicker than most people do. Her talent even stretches into the paranormal when she is able to see and talk to ghosts. She thinks she is alone in her talent until she learns that some of the people around her have the same talent. Some of those people have hidden their talent, and some still use it frequently. J. Dyanne and Katrin are surprised when they learn these secrets. It's a clever idea and story, and I liked it. I like that it is different. Thank goodness there are no vampires or werewolves!
I liked when J. Dyanne showed Katrin how she was able to solve the mystery by noticing the clues and putting them together into a solution. There is a time when her talent goes a little farther, though, and it gets into tarot cards, Wisdom cards, voodoo (*See comments below*), and physic readings. I didn't like that part as much, and wish they had left it at her just being a good sleuth. Some parents may be uncomfortable with their children reading about that. I did like the book. I'm not sure if my 13 and 11 year-old boys will like it, but girls of that age should. The language and vocabulary words used are at a much higher level than most middle-grade book are, which is great.
Rating: PG+ (It's clean--no profanity, violence, or "intimacy," but the subject matter is geared more toward an older middle-grader. They do use Wisdom Cards to do readings, and that may make some parents uncomfortable.)
Recommendation: 5th grade-6th grade and up.
Disclosure: I did receive a free book in exchange for my honest review.
**I have to apologize to Ms. Woods!!! I was supposed to review this book on Aug. 24th. What's today? Oh, only October 15th. Yep, I'm just a little late!! I'm so sorry! Somehow this book fell threw the cracks. I try really hard, but sometimes I can't keep everything straight!**