Shake the Spiders by Anne Wentworth
Publisher: Finch Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure Contemporary Historical Paranormal Suspense/Mystery, Young Adult
Length: Short Story (111 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 5 stars
Review by: Aloe
When her Grandma Haley warns her to shake the spiders from her shoes, Kim comes to understand those words can also apply to all the unhappy things that life has brought her.
Life hasn’t been kind to Kim Baylor. She’s fourteen going on old. After losing her dad seven years ago, life has gone downhill. Her mom’s drinking is taking a real toll on both their lives and Kim just wants to survive the chaos. Kim is dumped off at her grandma’s farm in small-town Manitoba for the summer, though she hasn’t seen her grandma since before her dad died. Life really starts to change—Kim finds Grandma Haley and her two odd friends aren’t the country bumpkins she’d thought they’d be.
Then life on the farm takes on a spooky twist with paranormal sightings and the legend of Rawlings Mannakee’s lost gold. With Jammer—her grandma’s huge black cat—at her side, she embarks on a summer filled with trying to understand the mysterious events at Haley’s farm, solving the mystery of the missing Mannakee gold and beginning her own process of healing from her mother’s destructive drinking.
Kim does not want to stay with a grandmother that she hardly knows during the summer. Her mom has a new boyfriend, he won a trip, and the resort doesn’t take children. Her mother isn’t just leaving her there for two weeks either. It will be the whole summer so she can drink and party with no worries. Kim has worries. What’s there to do in summer on a farm in the middle of the Canadian plains?
This author does a very nice job with the theme of an abused young girl who is mostly left to fend on her own since her father died. She shows that, with the support of family and friends, you can let the hurt go and move on. Just like shaking the spiders out of your shoes. The story flows well, the paranormal sightings and strange happenings are partly paranormal/partly human made, and she finds even if people are strange and unusual they can still be good friends.
Once Kim learns the tale of the missing gold, she wants to solve the mystery. It’s okay, she has three adults willing to work with her. The problem is that someone else wants that money. Is there really a ghost or is it the person trying to scare them off the property? It’s a bit of both.
The author does a good job of making her ghosts friendly. They show her sections of a book about the past that she’s reading to read about the legend. They even make her bed. It takes her new friends to help her stop the fake ghost.
This was a very good read with some chills and some heartfelt emotions expressed. All’s well that ends well.