Yes, Book 2 is as Awesome as Book 1 (maybe better)


All Emmy (12) wanted to do was get back to her friends at Wellsworth, but Ms. Boyd said she needed to make a stop first: a bank! Her father had opened a safe deposit box, where he wanted Emmy to put any of the relics that she still had. Emmy thought throwing the medallions into the sea would stop the Order of Black Hollow Lane from pursuing her father. It did not. In fact, they are getting more aggressive! As Emmy quickly suspects, members of the Order were behind Lola's expulsion from Wellsworth.

Emmy and Jack enlist the help of tech-savvy Sam (Jack's new roommate) to help them prove Lola's innocence. Meanwhile, the Order continues its threats. Brother Jonas makes it clear that they are watching her every move, and unless Emmy tells him where her father is or gives him the remaining medallions, more harm will come to people she loves. Including her mother. Desperate for this to end once and for all, Jack, Lola, and Emmy devise a plan to beat the order at its own game. It could work, or someone could get seriously hurt. Is it worth it?

Parent Perspective:
As much as I enjoyed The Order of Black Hollow Lane, I like book 2 even more!  Emmy's friendship with Jack and Lola doesn't skip a beat, and the return from summer vacation is the perfect spot to pick things back up. The addition of Sam, Jack's new roommate and Emmy's crush, adds excellent dimensions to the story and tests the reader, too.

The mystery is well devised, well paced, and unfolds in ways that is sometimes predictable, and sometimes not. In the end, the "thing" that drives Emmy the most - protecting those she loves - is resolved, yet there is just enough loose thread to push the reader to think about what might happen next. As of this writing, this is a 2-book series. I hope readers have one more chance to catch up with Emmy, Lola, and Jack, to find out if/how they repaired some relationships (no spoilers) and what  plans they had for the medallions.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Readers who liked to be surprised by unexpected twists will enjoy The Secret of White Stone Gate. The adventure is well paced and the characters (well, most of them) are people you can cheer for!

Content Awareness Factors:

None for this audience. There are several acts of violence and references to others, but they are neither graphic nor continuous.

Type of Book:
This is the second title in a 2-book mystery/adventure series set in a boarding school.
Educational Themes:

This is a mystery to be read just for fun. Because the story is character-driven, there are a number of themes that could be fun to explore:

* Did you trust Sam? Why/why not?
* If you were Emmy, would you have risked your father's life for your best friend?
* After [a scene near the end], do you think Jack's relationship with his father will change?
* After hearing about what happened to Emmy and Lola, do you think Jack's father will change?

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
11 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
10 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy if you love reading fun, engaging mysteries with strong, likeable characters.

Title The Secret of White Stone Gate

Black Hollow Lane, Book 2

Author Julia Nobel
Publisher Sourcebooks for Young Readers © 2020
ISBN 9781492664673
Material Hard Cover
Cost $16.99
Genres Adventure, Family, Friendship, Mystery, School

More Reviews

Here are some other books we have reviewed that you may like!


Ben H. Winters
HarperCollins Publishers © 2011
be the star you are


David Teague, Marisa de los Santos
Harper, Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2015


Michele Dominguez Greene
HarperTeen, Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2006


Julia Nobel
Sourcebooks for Young Readers © 2019