Bree McCready and the Half-Heart Locket by Hazel Allan
Publication Date/Version: August 2009/Paperback
Publisher: Strident Publishing
Age Group: Middle school and up
Twelve-year-old Bree McCready has a mission: she has just one night to save the world!
It starts when a clue inscribed on a Half-Heart Locket leads Bree and her best friends Sandy and Honey to an ancient magical book. With it they can freeze time, fly and shrink to the size of ants.
But they soon discover the book has a long history of destruction and death. And it's being sought by the monstrous Thalofedril, who will stop at nothing to get it.
Using its incredible powers, he could turn the world into a wasteland.
Bree, Sandy and Honey go on the run - hurtling off city rooftops, down neck-breaking ravines, and through night-black underground tunnels - to keep the book out of his lethal hands. Little do they know that the greatest danger of all lies ahead, in the heart of his deadly lair...
Can Bree find the courage to face this terrifying evil, and to confront the secrets of her tragic past?
Bree will always hold a special place in my heart, simply because it was the first book ever offered to me for review by the author herself. Hazel, by the way, is a sweetheart. Now, onto the book.
Good friends, action, and thrills, oh my! Bree had all of it. The mystery of the Half-Heart Locket starts out quickly, within the first chapter, and the pace never slows down from there. Bree is easy to relate to, and her best friend Sandy is just as quirky. Then along comes Honey, the girl with the looks, but none of the attitude. It was refreshing to see the pretty girl turn out to be the nice girl, as well.
I really enjoyed Bree, seeing how I love a good mystery with plenty of tasks to complete. This book had just that. It took a little to get used to the different grammar and slang, but it was fun! The entire book was about the three friends' quest to keep Thalofedril, who is incredibly creepy, away from the magical book. Their journey is fast paced and the idea of seven wishes really keeps the book moving. It was interesting to see how the friends reacted to each new wish they were given. At times I wished I could be in their places, just to experience the crazy adrenaline rush.
One thing I wished we could have seen more of was character development. I would've enjoyed learning more about Sandy and Honey, especially Honey. They both had such interesting families, and I would've liked to known more about their pasts. Hopefully, we'll get some new information in the sequel.
Bree is targeted for a younger audience, and I believe that's clear in the lack of any bad morals. All ages could enjoy this, however - I know I did. It was nice to read a book that wasn't filled with cussing, desire, or drinking. Bree is a perfectly good book without all of that, and is therefore accessible to all readers.
Overall: Although targeted for a younger audience, I found Bree to be incredibly enjoyable and filled with fast paced action and ideal friends.
My Advice: This book is currently being published in the UK, but is still available for order from Amazon. Definitely pick up a copy of this! You won't want to miss this, and all ages will be able to enjoy it.
Cover: I really like the title, with its cool font and color. The characters are portrayed perfectly, right down to Honey's multi-colored nail polish.