Sarah's Stars

Martha Brooks. Mistik Lake
Groundwood Books  $14.95  ISBN 978-0-88899-752-4  207 pg.
Reviewed by Emma, Age 15

Mistik is a Cree word meaning “wood.” On hot, still summer mornings, drifting clouds of mist pass close to the surface of the lake just before the sun rises and burns them away. Then the oaks and poplars and birches that edge the water reflect back at you, all light and shadow play—everything so calm and peaceful you could almost forget the damage a lake can do…

When you survive an accident like the one on Mistik Lake, you are changed forever. You can’t help it. When you drive out onto the ice with your friends in the middle of the night, when that ice cracks beneath you but you manage to fight your way free from the water, when all the others remain captive… Something inside of you is never the same, and all the years after, and all the decisions you make carry the resonance of tragedy. And in a life already surrounded by secrets, the possibility for destruction stretches on and on…

Martha Brooks is the award-laden Canadian author of Mistik Lake, as well as Bone Dance, True Confessions of a Heartless Girl and other stories. Some of her credits include the Ruth Schwartz award and the Mr. Christie Book Award; Martha Brooks is a playwright/jazz musician/author whose work has been published in nine countries worldwide.

Mistik Lake is intimate, ingenious, original, and sharp. Brooks’ ornate ingenuity pulls the reader along on an enigma-riddled picture parade, instilling hi-def images of love, conflict and modern dysfunctionality, and scoring a slough of points for shock value along the way. Alarmingly intricate and dangerously well written, Mistik Lake is a seductive and emotional five-star novel.

Brooks has hit on something unique and vulnerable with this book: subtle heartbreak, with a challenging, magnetic honesty at its core. I recommend it to readers 15 and up.

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