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Pick of the Month

Bookcover: Heartwood Box

Heartwood Box

By Ann Aguirre
grades 9-12

When Araceli Flores Harper steps out onto the train station platform, all she wants to focus on is having a fresh start. However, as she travels to her Great Aunt Ottilie’s Victorian house, all she can see are missing posters. Her Aunt tells her that none of the people depicted on the posters have been found, and that even her own husband is among the missing. As Araceli attempts to live a normal life, curious things start to happen. She soon discovers that Aunt Ottilie is leaving food out each night for no one, inexplicable noises are coming from the attic upstairs, and there are lights in the forest that no one town will talk about, except the curious boy who lives across the street. Then, Araceli stumbles upon an old heartwood box. It contains a letter, written by a soldier who is about to be shipped to the front lines of World War I. On a whim, Araceli decides to write back, and, impossibly, the solider responds. Although none of it seems possible, the consequences of Araceli’s actions are starting to become all too real. She must follow her gut and rely on her friends if she is to unravel why people are really disappearing. This fast-paced mystery strikes a perfect balance between creepy and whimsical, with an unlikely undercurrent of historical fiction. These vibrant characters and heartfelt story will stay with you long after you turn the last page. 

Check out other great booklists and the past Teen Pick of the Month selections.

Teens Read Pick of the Month