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The Creek by
Jennifer L. Holm is a taut suspense filled coming-of-age novel
about a young girl growing into womanhood in a stressful environment.
Mockingbird Lane was a quiet neighborhood until Caleb Devlin, a troubled youth,
returns home and history begins to repeat itself.
The Creek is set in the sleepy
neighborhood of Mockingbird Land
somewhere in contemporary Pennsylvania.
It is summer and twelve-year old Penny Carson is confused. She does not
understand why Amy Bukvic, her fourteen-year old former best friend, would
rather dress provocatively and hang out with older boys. Without female
companionship, Penny must content herself with hanging out with the "old
gang": her ten-year old brother, Teddy; her twelve-year old classmates:
protective Benji Albright, the bully Angus "Mac" McHale, overweight
Zachary Evreth, and ever-responsible thirteen-year old Oren Loew. Penny,
however, is beginning to feel uncomfortable being the only girl in the group,
but is not exactly sure why. Then Caleb Devlin returns. Caleb is a local
legend. Four years ago, he was sent to a juvenile center after torturing &
killing a number of the neighbors' pets, beating up a number of his classmates,
and finally, killing his older sister and her boyfriend when he cut the break
lines of the young man's car. Now he is back and is secretly dating Amy while
her parents are not around. Then Mr. Cat, the Carson's
cat disappears, followed by Buster, the Bukvic's dog.
That is only the start of the strange and scary events that begin to happen on Mockingbird
Lane. The novel builds to heart pounding chase
sequence ending in a heart-stopping finale. (Do not skip to the ending of this
Creek offers young people a truly well written, suspense filled book. It is
genuinely scary with an ending that is not easy to pre-guess. It is also a
wonderful tale illustrating the role gossip and rumor play in the creation of
local legend and mythology especially in the minds of young people. It also
demonstrates how what is expected is often what is seen, whether or not it is
truth. Finally, it is a very insightful depiction of the often mystifying
evolution that occurs when young people moves out of the realm of children and
into the world of young adults. In so many ways this is truly a superb book.
L. Holm is an author of numerous children's and young adult books. She is the author of Our
Only May Amelia (2000) a Newbery Award winner based on the author's
grandaunt Alice Amelia Holm, a Finnish-American girl raised in Washington
State during the nineteenth century. She is also the author of Boston Jane: An Adventure (2001) and Boston Jane: Wilderness Days (2002). She
lives in Brooklyn, New York. The Creek is
her first contemporary novel.
††††††††††† Jennifer L. Holm, the author of The
Creek has another winner on her hands. The Creek is a scary tale in the vein of Halloween (the movie). It is a worthy addition to the genre of
scary tales for young people and should remain so for many years to come. If
this book does not win any literary awards, it will definitely claim the
popular vote. The book does contain some graphic descriptions of violence that
may be upsetting for some sensitive readers. It is recommended for ages 12
years and up. I recommend this book.
© 2003 Su Terry
Su Terry: Education:
B.A. in History from Sacred Heart University, M.L.S. in Library Science from
Southern Connecticut State College, M.R.S. in Religious Studies/Pastoral
Counseling from Fairfield University, a M.Div. in Professional Ministry from
New Brunswick Theological Seminary, a Certificate in Spirituality/Spiritual
Direction from Sacred Heart University. She is a Licensed Minister of the
United Church of Christ and an Assistant Professor in Library Science at Dowling
Island, NY. Interests in Mental
Health: She is interested in the interplay between psychology, biology, and
mysticism. Her current area of research is in the impact of hormonal
fluctuation in female Christian mystics.