Book Review: Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur
Children’s fiction, contemporary.

Elise and Franklin have always been best friends. Elise has always lived in the big house with her loving Uncle and Aunt, because Elise’s parents died when she was too young to remember them.  There’s always been a barn behind the house with eight locked doors on the second floor. When Elise and Franklin start middle school, things feel all wrong. Bullying. Not fitting in. Franklin suddenly seems babyish.  Then, soon after her 12th birthday, Elise receives a mysterious key left for her by her father. A key that unlocks one of the eight doors upstairs in the barn.

Spoiler note: This review does not contain spoilers.

Eight Keys is a truly beautiful book. I adore everything about the cover, that it’s a hardback without being too big to carry around, and, of course, the story. Eight Keys is an emotional, moving children’s book about a 12-year-old girl’s realistic experience of life.

The main themes in this book are love, family, friendship, and bullying. Elise, our main character, is far from perfect but the reader cannot help but empathise and encourage her throughout her character development. Eight Keys explores many of the thoughts, feelings, insecurities and experiences that children go through in school, especially during that awkward stage between being a child and a teenager.

A really interesting aspect of the story is what the book’s title is derived from. Elise has lived with her aunt and uncle most of her life as her mother died giving birth and her father died of cancer shortly after. After Elise’s 12th birthday, she discovers a key that unlocks one of the 8 rooms in her aunt and uncle’s barn. She eventually unlocks each of the rooms that her father created especially for her. This was my favourite part of Eight Keys and it’s also an extremely emotional part of the story. It was heartbreaking reading Elise say to herself that her existence wasn’t worth her mother dying for.

As for the bullying, it’s something we’ve most likely all been through and I thought it was a realistic portrayal. Children often keep it to themselves if they’re being bullied and Eight Keys recognises this, and the dilemma, whilst encouraging children to open up.

I loved Eight Keys and I would most likely have loved it even more as a child (its target readership is children aged 9+). I’m looking forward to reading Suzanne LaFleur’s debut novel Love, Aubrey.

Thank you Puffin Books for sending me this book to review!

My Rating:  ★★★★★
Buy: Paperback
More: Goodreads

10 thoughts on “Book Review: Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

  1. […] Running a book blog has meant that I’ve become a lot more open minded about what books I pick up. It showed me that I shouldn’t judge a book by its genre and so now I try and base my decision to read a book on the plot rather than its genre. Previously, I most likely would not have picked up books such as Hereafter and Paper Towns but I ended up really enjoying them! I have also recently discovered that I am able to appreciate children’s/middle grade fiction such as A Monster Calls, Liesl & Po, and Eight Keys. […]

  2. […] Copies Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur I loved Eight Keys, which I read last month, and so Puffin kindly provided me with Love, Aubrey, which was published […]

  3. […] first book. The Flask by Nicky Singer This is a middle grade novel that sounds a little similar to Eight Keys: Twelve-year-old Jess is grieving for her beloved Aunt Edie, and anxiously awaiting the birth of […]

  4. […] Runner, Sister, Birthmarked, Never Let Me Go, Divergent, Looking for Alaska, Dark Inside, Tankborn, Eight Keys, and Ashfall. Share […]

  5. […] read Eight Keys last year and I absolutely loved it. It was my first foray into children’s literature for a […]

  6. […] Thank you Bloomsbury & The Book Depository for providing this book to review! If you liked: Eight Keys & Love, […]

  7. […] Eight Keys and Love Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur are two heartbreaking stories about family and grief that truly understand the experiences that some children go through. […]

  8. i love the book eight key

  9. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all people you actually realize what you are
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  10. I thought that this book was amazing!!!!’

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