The Valley of Lost Secrets

Lesley Parr (Bloomsbury)

The Valley of Lost Secrets

Review by Conrad
The Valley Of Lost Secrets is a thrilling, exciting wartime adventure leaving you with excitement, gripping yourself for what is next. The star in this book is a young boy named Jimmy, an evacuee forced to a rural town found in the vast countryside of Wales, obviously not to Jimmy’s liking. Reading the book, it was blatantly obvious that Jimmy was homesick, despising the fact that all of his friends – even his younger brother (Ronnie) of whom was not the kind to make friends – had fit in well enough to call it normal. However, things take a dramatic turn. Jimmy makes a shocking discovery and makes friends with his worst enemy. This book truly has you on the edge of your seat, wanting to read more and more, from the several hidden connotations, to the plot twists I didn’t expect.

However, what made this book truly special was its ability to drag you in and keep you reading. I feel as if anyone, young or old, will enjoy this book; if they only give it a chance to flow its story through their mind.

Review by Fahim
Are you wondering what it was like to be an evacuee in World War 2? If you are, ‘The Valley of Lost Secrets’ is a spectacular book...

My favourite character is Jimmy because he had so many troubles. My least favourite is Ronnie, because he is creepy. 

The book was good, and I learnt more about World War 2. The plot is entertaining, and Jimmy stands out the most.

There are a lot of Welsh words!

I recommend this book to 7–12 year olds.

Review by Rida
While I read this book, I felt many different emotions. I recommend it to older children, around 12 and 13, as younger children might be scared by some events in the story. My favourite character was Alum Thomas because the author does a great job at hiding his emotions. I give it 5/5 stars!

Review by Subaita
What I liked about this book is that it always has a puzzle for you to solve, whether it’s about the book or a secret message. My favourite character is definitely Florence Campbell because in London she’s very quiet and she’s not that kind, but then she takes the chance she has to change herself. Also, I really liked Jimmy because at first he finds it very hard to fit in with everyone else, but with the help of Florence, he realises his past mistakes. Would I recommend this book to you? Yes of course! 5/5 stars!

Review by Aisha
I really liked the book. The book is set in Wales during WW2 and is during the evacuation of children. I really liked the main characters. I especially liked that outspoken girls were featured and helped move the story along. There were some bullies who were quite wimpy so I despised them.

I was able to learn about the different changes to children’s lives during the evacuation and what the new homes were like. One of the characters was really young, Ronnie, and so did not really understand the war so that perspective was really interesting.

The plot was quite serious and the evacuation was quite serious. The children also saw a dead body, bones specifically, in a tree so this was very heavy. There is also a plot twist as to who the person in the tree is.

The book was well written and had a good pace so I liked everything about it. I would recommend this book to other students who do not mind unsettling content. This is also a good insight into wartime Wales so students who love History would love this. Overall, this is a really good book.

Review by Ashley
The Valley of Lost Secrets is a fictional book about a group of evacuees arriving in Llanbryn, Wales. It starts off with the main protagonist, Jimmy, arriving in the small town with his younger brother, Ronnie. Jimmy struggles to fit in with his new “parents” but life in that small, boring town becomes frightening when Jimmy finds a skull inside a tree. The story is set in the countryside of Wales meaning it has a slow start before the skull is found, creating an ominous and distrustful atmosphere.

While facing cruel bullies and horrible townsfolk, Jimmy makes unlikely friends and must face the fact that Llanbryn is much more different to London.

I personally read more non-fiction books than fiction, but this book was incredible to read. I loved this book as the plot was amazing, meaning it compels you to continue reading the moment you start the first page. The build-up to the end creates a lot of suspense.

Another interesting concept in the story is the relationship and tension between Jimmy and his best friend Duff, because of how Duff had changed from when they arrived from London.

In my opinion, this is an outstanding and unique story, and I would highly recommend it to children of 12 years and older.

Review by Betsy
Mysterious, thrilling and emotional.

During World War 2, Jimmy and his younger brother Ronnie are evacuated to Llabryn in Wales. Many of Jimmy’s classmates are evacuated along with him. He and his brother are taken in by the Thomases who are a married couple and Mr Thomas works in a coal mine.

But why are there whispers about them in low voices? Ronnie quickly settles in whilst Jimmy is detesting all the new normal. When Jimmy stumbles upon a great climbing tree, he notices something… a skull! He runs away at top speed but his legs keep leading him there. With an unlikely new-found friend, named Florence, Jimmy must find out to whom the skull belonged and why it was there...

Personally, I feel the book marries a perfect combination of description with emotion. I find the emotional parts of the book have a feel of silence. It is almost like you can see the image of the scene and feels very powerful. The description paints a picture of Llabryn and its surroundings. I think that this is a good trait to have in a book. The wonderful hills and mountain come to life inside your imagination. I do not really feel like much is wrong with it!... I loved this book as it has an amazing storyline and is super adventurous! I would recommend this book to 9-15 year olds. Out of ten I would give this book a 9.5!

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