In Ruth Benjamin’s sequel to The Lost Treasure of Chelton, the Suzman and Levine kids have a new mystery to solve. Strange lights are flashing from the old abandoned lighthouse, and they are determined to discover why. During their investigation, the reader is treated to a mysterious ghost, trap doors, secret passageways, old lost ships, and a surprise ending. Unfortunately, Benjamin uses a heavy hand to show the benefits of what her characters call “religious” Judaism. The didactic thread slows the pace of the novel. Mrs. Levine compares her “shallow friends” in the city to the warm and friendly rabbi. Her son, Alex, realizes how boring cartoons really are. In the end, the narrative is too one-sided and may alienate readers who are not observant. When Benjamin stays focused on the kids and the mystery, her narrative brings to mind both the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series. The reader never really fears for the children. The dialogue is appropriate for young independent readers. Ages 9 – 12.
Sarah Aronson holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She is a full time writer and has recently published her first novel, Head Case (Roaring Brook) for young adults. Sara blogs every Thursday for the Lilith blog.