Books for Secondary Students: Synopsis, grade level suitability.

discussion topics, questions, follow-up activities - coming soon


Terror at White Otter Castle School Edition

Grade 7 to 10. Laurel, Aster, and Beth have been best friends since grade one when they created the “triangle of power". In September, as high school graduates, they will head off in different directions. Because Laurel fears it will be the end of their friendship, she convinces the others to join her on an end of summer trip - a nine-day canoe expedition to White Otter Castle, deep in the Northern Canadian forest. Unknown to her, the hundred-year-old log castle is has a dark secret. The “triangle of power” faces the ultimate test when the dark forest holds a terror they never imagined. Based on a true story. Friendship. History.

Some Reviewer Quotes

 First page of Terror at White Otter Castle

There are lots of twists and turns, surprises, and a bit of horror combined to make this less than one hundred page story keep you on the edge of your seat. Next time you are looking for a well-written quick, exciting read, take a look at this one.

Deep in the wilderness, this imposing building has a dark history and soon the girls find themselves having an adventure which will test their friendship to its very limits. Based on a true story this is a very enjoyable read.

If there's scarier place to set up camp in than in the shadow of an abandoned mansion I can't imagine where such a place might be located. Ms. Ferrante convincingly builds up the tension from the very first scene, and there's never a dull moment as the hiking group settles in for the night.

Grade 11-12. In a world where eye color may determine your future, Leya is born with one green and one blue eye. Will this diminish her potential or provide the exceptional opportunity to become a Double Vision Mistress? 
Even if she fulfills her gifts, Leya must learn to control her impulsiveness and quick temper or she will be stripped of her powers in a painful and crippling ritual. Unfortunately, Zendra, a devious Novice knows exactly how to raise Leya's anger. But the Mistresses, struggling with significant problems of their own, seem blind to Leya's dilemma. How much should she risk in pursuit of power, prestige, and wealth?

Some Reviewer Quotes

I enjoyed Leya's character simply because she was wonderfully flawed. Her natural propensity for acting before thinking things through, her impulsive nature and her quick temper were somewhat refreshing to read about. I tend to run into main characters that may have obstacles to deal with, but rarely is the obstacle themselves. I don't think this gives a character any room for growth or development if they aren't flawed like the rest of humanity is.

I loved that this story felt exactly like you were in the head of the main character. For the first half or so, that meant being in the head of a fourteen-year-old girl as she interacted with other teenage girls, and all of the friendships, backstabbing, jealousies, rivalries, etc. felt completely real.

Want to tease someone? There are consequences that reverberate years later, sometimes very decisively. Even a simple motive of saving a village of people from a natural calamity has unwanted, unintended consequences. Yes, they're everywhere. 

Bonnie Ferrante does a wonderful job in bringing modern problems that young girls face; insecurity, loneliness, family, balancing study with play, and puts them into the surreal setting of a world with supernatural powers that can do good as well as evil.

The story emphasizes on moral choices and how one must consciously choose to be 'good' when it is easy to pick the easy way out and do harm to others.