THE SECRET OF THE DRAGON GEMS
Middle Grade, Yellow Jacket, 2023
Co-written by Newbery Honor-winning author Rajani LaRocca and Chris Baron, this page-turning novel is told through letters, e-mails, instant messages, and video chats between camp friends Tripti and Sam over their shared love of a book series and some mysterious rocks they brought home from summer camp.
Eleven-year-olds Tripti Kapoor, a feisty "word nerd" from Massachusetts, and Sam Cohen, a shy, imaginative, budding geologist from California, are both miserable at Camp Dilloway, a summer camp in upstate New York. On the last night of camp, they follow a shooting star to a quiet creek. There they find two silvery rocks glowing in the night. They each take one home, and their long-distance friendship begins.
It's soon clear that these are no ordinary rocks. They seem to move on their own, get strangely hot, and even take over Tripti and Sam's thoughts! Inspired by their mutual love of their favorite book series, The Dragon Gems, they dub the rocks Opal and Jasper, after the Dragon Gems in the books.
But others are interested in the stones too--including the owner of Camp Dilloway, who hides a secret of his own. Tripti and Sam must crack the Dragon Gems' code and keep them out of Dilloway's clutches, all while navigating the rocky road of middle school friendships and learning to stand up for what is right.
US: Yellow Jacket
“[Penny’s] poems weave their way through the narrative, fortifying Allen’s own lyrical writing and adding to the overall message that strength can be found in words and creativity . . . Fans of Jonathan Auxier’s The Night Gardener (2014) will find the Fear Maker alluring but may suffer some nightmares of their own after following Penny to his door. Allen deals in both beauty and terror, rendering this a sophisticated choice for horror readers.” ―Booklist, starred review
“11-year-old Penny Hope’s anxiety manifests as a real-life monster under her bed in this ethereal novel . . . Poetic prose and visceral emotion infuse realistic depth into this mood-driven, allegorical portrayal of mental illness. Stark b&w illustrations by Hewitt employ a photo negative effect to accentuate Penny’s brooding poems.” ―Publishers Weekly
“The first-person narration sparks sympathy―[Penny] is a girl tormented by fear who is, even with magic seeds and a notebook of poems, woefully unprepared to face a soul devourer on her own. Her eventual determined pursuit of the Fear Maker in his own domain is all the more powerful because readers will see how hard-won that determination is, and it may inspire them to peek beyond their own fears, seeing if those boundaries can be pushed just a bit as well.” ―The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books
“Both a terrifying story for kids and a poetic fight song against the prison anxiety builds around the human heart, The Nightmare House is timeless, exciting, beautiful, creepy, and above all, full of the hope that lights even the darkest nights.” ―Delilah S. Dawson, New York Times–bestselling author of Mine
“A gorgeous book with scares enough for the brave at heart and heart enough for everyone. I loved every page.” ―Lora Senf, author of The Clackity
“The Nightmare House is a haunting and hopeful testament of art’s ability to fill our broken spaces. As readers watch Penny embrace her innate bravery, they will be inspired to do the same.” ―Josh Allen, author of Out to Get You: 13 Tales of Weirdness and Woe