Elise and Franklin are best friends on the cusp of their teenage years. Games of pretend, which once were fun for them both, result in them being made fun of and bullied at school. While Franklin is able to ignore some of these things, Elise has a harder time of it. She doesn't do her homework, misses the bus, and is no longer kind to her best friend, Franklin.
In addition to this, Elise is also looking forward to turning twelve. At each birthday Elise receives a letter from her father who died when she was little. This letter, however, happens to be the last. Yet, her father hints at a different sort of present from him coming when she is ready. Eight keys begin to appear for Elise, each one unlocking a room in the upstairs of her uncle Hugh's barn where he works as a furniture maker. Each room has a theme of sorts, and Elise uncovers more treasures about her mother, who died in childbirth, and her father who died just a few years later from cancer.
Growing up is not easy, and Elise struggles with things, getting guidance from her aunt and uncle and her father's best friend who owns the hardware store.
While I loved this story, Eight Keys was hard for me to get into at first. Elise's experience of feeling like she doesn't fit in is something that most pre-teens will be able to relate to, yet her reaction-like purposely missing the bus, and her constant inability to do her homework, seemed out of character for her. Still, even though I can find some flaws in this one, tween readers will enjoy this story and understand the struggles that Elise faces.
Suzanne Lafleur's sophomore novel Eight Keys was provided to me from Amazon Vine.