The Night Gardener is a mystery meets dark fairytale meets childhood adventure. If you’re looking for a book to appeal to middle schoolers, especially those who may not like to read so much, this is the book for you.
I’ve got a big reader and an “I hate to” reader. To that end, I generally read a lot of their books before (or while) they do. With my big reader, I’m screening for conversations we may need to have an to be prepared for her questions. For my not-so-much reader, I screen the books so I can quiz him on content to make sure he’s retaining. It means I read a lot. I’m closing in on 100 books this year and that’s not including the ones I didn’t finish because they were SO bad. But this isn’t about all of that, it’s about The Night Gardener and why you should read it.
Basically, a young teen and her younger brother are orphaned during the potato famine in Ireland but manage to get to England. Our brave teen finds work at a strange house with all manner of oddities. The plot thickens when the family’s peculiar symptoms spread to the girl. It’s hard to describe much without giving anything away but it’s an easy read. There’s an odd storyteller, bad nightmares that plague the residents of the home, and even a strange night garden.
When the girl and her brother sort out what’s going on, they have to find a way to save themselves and the family they work for. Are they strong enough? Brave enough?
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The Verdict on The Night Gardener
Read it with your family. It’s completely appropriate for middle-schoolers and older elementary aged kids.