Hike Up Devil’s Mountain by Penny Estelle

By Ekta R. Garg

April 2012

Rated: Bookmark it!

When 10-year-old Andy approaches the condemned house at the edge of the neighborhood, he knows he’s asking for trouble.  Not only did his mother forbid him to go to the house due to be razed, but also everyone he knows talks about it being the former home of a wicked witch who has since moved to the top of Devil’s Mountain.  But Andy isn’t about to let some sissy warning from his mother or idle town gossip keep him from investigating the house.  A simple premise, but author Penny Estelle treats it in a delightful manner that will have even adults eager to find out what happens next.

Author Estelle doesn’t hesitate: her book opens right in the middle of the action as readers see Andy on the verge of entering the basement of the dilapidated home from an external entrance.  As he investigates suspicious-looking boxes and a furnace missing its door, twelve-year-old Jason and his younger brother, Danny, follow him inside the basement.  Jason doesn’t hesitate to taunt Andy about being scared; as a new kid in town and the elder son of wealthy parents, Jason tries to exert his superiority over Andy.

Andy, however, isn’t about to back down, and the two boys begin to scuffle.  Just when the fight comes to its climax, though, Jason disappears, seemingly into thin air—and Andy and Jason’s younger brother are left to decide how to get Jason back.  The two decide the only way to bring Jason back is by visiting the so-called witch on Devil’s Mountain, and that’s where the adventure begins.

This short book for young readers packs quite a punch—author Penny Estelle doesn’t back down from including twists and turns at every possible chance, and as a result readers will be flipping pages impatiently to know how it all ends.  Estelle’s prose targets her audience well. Although some of her dialogue may not sound true to life (at certain points it’s a little too explanatory and above the age of her target readers,) for the most part she will definitely keep readers engaged.

The only major complaint this reviewer has of this book is that it ended too soon, and it is certainly reminiscent of the once-popular “Choose Your Own Adventure” books.  A fun afternoon read for adults and possibly a weekend read for younger readers, this reviewer wholeheartedly recommends Hike Up Devil’s Mountain for fans of good old-fashioned action adventure.

***

What the ratings mean:

Bookmark it!–Read this book and then buy it and add it to to your own collection.  It’s definitely worth it!

Borrow it–Check this one out from the library; it’s a worthy read, but think twice before spending your hard-earned money on it.

Bypass it–Free time is precious.  Don’t spend it on this book!

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