The Limbo Tree
Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Published October 10th 2016
Manhattan House Publishing & Media
An accident. A secret. The truth.
Something is wrong with Samantha McCallister. Her baby brother is dead, and she has only one memory of the accident: the canned version her parents impressed upon her. But piece by piece, Sam struggles to make sense of it.
Cast aside by her self-involved family, Sam seeks out a friendship with the next-door neighbor, Hazel, until Hazel inexplicably goes missing, leaving nothing but a note and a jar of jam.
Determined to uncover the truth about Hazel’s disappearance, Sam finds out more than she bargained for. Bizarre episodes and nightmares consume her, vicious and unstoppable.
Meanwhile, an adolescent muse moves into Hazel’s abandoned home. Sam is immediately drawn to him—discovering the beginnings of true love—when the unthinkable occurs. Sam is alienated to a world in which she no longer feels she belongs. Try as she might, Sam cannot escape these nightmares or the truth behind them—the truth that lies in the Limbo Tree.
Brilliantly crafted, shimmering with uncertainty, The Limbo Tree is as mystical as it is moving.
What a nice story. It’s been a while since I’ve read a YA novel so full of surprises. Let’s just say that I expected something else from the blurb. I will try my best to review this book without giving any spoilers that might take away from the novel’s twists and turns.
The cover – I thought it was a little bit odd at first. However, it made sense only after I finished the novel. It fits perfectly with the story.
The Tree Limbo has a fast-medium pace – most of the chapters are really interesting, but there are some that are a little bit slower.
Based on the blurb, I expected this novel to be about Sam finding Hazel and discovering what happen to her brother. In other words, I expected Sam to play detective, and Elliot would be her partner in crime.
Granted, the first chapters were about Hazel, but it expanded in more than that. Moreover, the plot is full of twists and turns; nothing is predictable, which is great! Also, certain scenes allude to some paranormal elements, and they made the novel even more intriguing.
Therefore, I was mostly confused. I didn’t know where the story will go. When I thought I figured it out: bam, another twist. And of course, I needed to know what will happen next, and figure out the mystery!
The end was a huge surprise! I didn’t see that coming. Actually, what I thought it was the end, turned out to be an impostor! Then the real end finally revealed itself, and it was really good! Everything wrapped up nicely, and all the ambiguity and confusion was explained.
One more thing about the ending – it’s open. The ending is just the beginning, but that beginning will be based on our own imagination (hence the words ‘open ending’). There is also the possibility of a sequel, which would be quite interesting. At the same time, I would like for it to stay open, thou. It would fit the novel perfectly.
The only con for me are the slower paced chapters – the ones where Sam and Eliot have fun and nothing else. The chapters are not bad, but my attention kind of dwindled while reading them. Anyway, this is a personal preference/opinion. Other people will not have a problem with this.
The main character is Sam. She is quite interesting, especially since she’s an unreliable narrator. Which for me, made the story about Sam itself more interesting and a priority over Sam’s characterization. Since Sam’s point of view is not reliable, I had to pay attention to the clues and made up my own theories.
Sam is a nice, kind and smart young lady. She is a pleasant character. Since she’s a teenager, she does have her moments of drama and stubbornness. Her relationship with her parents is quite typical for a teenager – she sneaks out of the house, she tells white lies, sometimes she argues with them.
As the blurb says, Sam has nightmares and sometimes is hard for her to realize what is real, and what is not. Thus, the reader does not know either – the author did a really good job writing those nightmares as reality. I cannot tell you how many times I was fooled by those bloody dreams! 😀
And then there is Elliott, the boy who moves in Hazel’s house. He turns out to be an interesting character, as well as a really good friend to Sam. Just like Sam, Elliott has his own secrets that may or may not be revealed.
Hazel appeared to be a nice, old lady – the grandma type. However, she is a mysterious character that will only be reveal towards the end of the novel. Same goes for other secondary characters.
In general, I liked all the characters. They’re mysterious, well developed, intriguing. Also, each minor character has his/her own purpose – even the ones who appear only for a couple of pages, here and there.
There is some romance in this book, but it’s not the main focus. I mean, Sam and Elliott develop feelings for each other, but their friendship is the foundation if you will – no instant love. We’re talking about that cute, innocent type of romance – that first time a teenager falls in love.
I liked it a lot. I also loved the fact that Sam had Elliott in either world.
What can I say? This novel surprised me – in a good way.
I think it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year, especially in the Young Adult category. I’m really glad I got the chance to read it!
What I liked:
ツ The mystery of the plot.
ツ The twists and turns.
ツ The unpredictability of the story.
ツ I love unreliable narratives.
ツ Open ending.
ツThe characters – all of them.
ツBasically, almost everything.
What I didn’t like:
☹ The slow paced chapters – very few, and this is a personal preference.
☹ I wished to know more about what happened to Sam’s family at the end. This is not a dislike, more like a wish to know more.
Yes, yes, yes! You will love The Limbo Tree.
It’s a great story for both adults and teenagers. It has a little bit of everything: mystery, romance, drama, problems in a marriage, animals, twists and turns, unpredictability, scenes that appear to be paranormal, teenagers, friendship, family.
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