“The Black Book of Secrets” is a book I shamefully picked up because of its cover at a Scholastic warehouse sale. It has a black cover, black end papers, and the edge of every page is black. For a YA book, this looked like something dark that I could totally get into.
We meet Ludlow, the main character, as his mother and father are attempting to sell his teeth to a dirty man named Barton Gumbroot. Did I mention his teeth are still firmly (and happily) living in his mouth? Ludlow manages to escape and chance, choice, or destiny conspire to have him arrive on the doorstep of Joe Zabbidou. The mysterious Joe does not reveal himself to be good or bad but seems to be almost aloof to the happenings in Pagus Parvus. He has a limp, uncontrollable hair, and the curious profession of Secret Pawnbroker.
The village of Pagus Parvus is under the control of greedy Jeremiah Ratchet. Joe, with Ludlow as his assistant and scribe, have upset the town’s balance of power. Jeremiah is angry. The villagers are desperate for help and look to Joe as their new savior.
A tale of confession and redemption, “The Black Book of Secrets” is worth the afternoon read. I gave this book three stars on Goodreads.
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