The Emerald Key by Mark Frederickson and Melora Pineda

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Emerald KeyThe end of the school year is always a relief for eighth-grade students. Laci Reece did not notice when her classmates exited the classroom for their summer vacation. As usual, her nose is in a book as usual.
Laci always carries a bookbag filled fantasy novels complete with various mythical creatures.

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Penny Wright has a special friendship with Laci. Though opposite in popularity and personalities, the two value their long friendship with acceptance of each other’s differences and delight in the time they share together.

The two girls visit Penny’s grandmother as wedding preparations are throughout the house. After Penny’s grandfather had disappeared years ago, she finally had a new relationship and was going to remarry. Years of loneliness and questions had plagued the family for years. There seemed to be no explanation why a caring husband and devoted father would just disappear. Now Roy will be becoming part of the household. He is dull and smells. Change is difficult for everyone.

Penny also has a difficult task. She has to wear a pouffy-pink taffeta dress which a cousin had worn at her grandma’s first wedding. While looking for tablecloths in the attic, the girls noticed something under the floorboards discovering a ring, a journal, and a jewel. With two of their friends, this discovery opens a world into a dangerous adventure for four teens who wonder if they will ever again see their family and home.

Friendship, loyalty, and recognizing the difference between the good for the personal vs. friends are underlying themes throughout this fast-paced novel for teens while in an adventure of good vs. evil in a world of fantasy. The pacing with the multitude of quests perfectly intermixes realism with a bit of humor in many life or death situations while learning about trust and instilling the values of loyalty and friendship.

Author Mark Frederickson usually spends his time working in the film industry while his co-author, Melora Pineda previously worked in television. The Emerald Key is the first novel for both.

The Emerald Key is a fantastical adventure featuring loyalty and friendship that is enjoyable for all ages.