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The Secret Spiral by Gillian Neimark

Published by Aladdin

Pages: 208

Ages: 8-12 (Middle Grade)

Publishers Summary: It’s just another boring Wednesday in May for ten-year-old Flor Bernoulli of Brooklyn, New York. As soon as school is out she hurries to the popular Sky High Pie Shop down the block, owned by the wonderfully mysterious Dr. Pi. But when she gets there, her life changes forever. Dr. Pi reveals he is actually an ancient wizard, in charge of a very special cosmic fire that keeps nature in balance. Without him, every single thing that has the shape of a spiral—from seashells to galaxies to the inside of your ear—will cease to exist. Flor wonders if Dr. Pi has lost his mind, but then two tall blond strangers from another planet show up, hoping to steal Dr. Pi’s fire for themselves. The adventure of a lifetime has begun. As she travels in time and travels in space, Flor learns that only she has the magic to help Dr. Pi protect the fire, save the spiral, and keep the world spinning just as it should.

Flor sticks out like a sore thumb in the midst of average everyday rectangle-liking ten year olds and even most adults as well. It’s only her beloved Dr. Pi, the owner of Sky High Pies that can see the beauty in her flamboyant style sense and love her even more so because of it. It’s Dr. Pi though that may be holding a secret to not only her past, but one that could alter the existence of everyone on the earth if it’s discovered. When suddenly Dr. Pi goes missing Flor has but only one choice, save him and protect his secret, the spiral.

So, if you’re completely confused by the introduction don’t worry, it goes perfectly with the story. That being said, I thought The Secret Spiral by Gillian Neimark was a fantastically written journey filled with magic and mystery that reminded me much of Roald Dahl & Lewis Carroll stories. In the beginning of the story Flor seemed just like any other tween girl with a flare for her own sense of fashion, but as the story continued it turned out she was a bit more like James from James and the Giant Peach or even Alice having fallen down the rabbit hole. What her story made for was a magical adventure young readers will absolutely love.

Incorporated into this whacky tale are a few subtle mentions of mathematics that will possibly even have readers thinking about the universe as well. This is mentioned through the use of shapes and numbers, specifically spirals and often rectangles. In addition to that there are also two characters who are made up entirely of numbers, adding to the magical improbability of the story but making it a fun way of incorporating a small bit of learning along the way.

The Secret Spiral by Gillian Neimark was one of those reads that leaves you feeling a bit like you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. It was magical and light mixed with a bit of mathematical education in the form of a spiral. Flor’s life growing up with a single mother, abandoned by her father, is a story that many tween readers will most likely relate to on some level and will find comfort in her discoveries & self-confidence. A delightful journey through the magic of the spiral, one that tween readers will love and devour quickly.

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 7-14. A bit of magical whimsy sprinkled with small amounts of learning will have young readers hoping for a sequel.

PS…Don’t you just love this cover? I think it’s fabulous!

Find The Secret Spiral by Gillian Neimark at the following spots:
Powell’s Books

Thank you so much to the publisher, Aladdin, for providing a copy of this book for review! Connect with them on Twitter and on Facebook!
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3 Responses to Book Review: The Secret Spiral by Gillian Neimark

  1. Gina says:

    Sounds like an interesting mix though the cover has me doing a double take…..there’s a teen fiction book that looks very much like it that is escaping my memry right now. *ponders*
    Great review!

  2. Great review. The cover sold me.

  3. […] our RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!Only a few weeks ago I had the privilege of reading and reviewing Gillian Neimark’s debut middle grade novel, The Secret Spiral. It was wonderful and as I mention in my review, I can’t wait for the story to […]

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