“When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land. But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into–as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house. They soon discover there’s something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school. Then the really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading off to far-off places–in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen’s dream come true . . . or his worst nightmare.”
I was introduced to this series of books by a good friend of mine last year. I am always on the lookout for good books and this is one of her favorites, so when she found out I loved to read she immediately suggested this series to me and loaned me the first book, “House of Dark Shadows” I read the first book within a matter of hours and then bought the books for myself so I could read them at my own pace without having to make sure she was around so I Could get the next book. during this time two other friends of ours were also reading the books, so in a way we were experiencing these books together.
One of the things I Enjoyed about the first book is that it starts off with a bang, it throws the reader right in, to what you don’t really know, but it is a mystery to solve right along side the Kings. Another aspect of the books that I loved is the realness of the family itself. when the reader first meets the Kings they are in a car moving from Las Angeles, California to Pinedale, California, and the scene that is played out in the car is one that many families have had while riding in a car for hours with siblings. Victoria (Toria) is annoying Alexander (Xander) with her bear that records things, making it record and repeat everything Xander says, causing him to get more upset than he already is. The Parents are shown as real people, not a child’s version of how they see their parents acting but as a real person.
Liparulo does something with his books that is reflects the value of family and how they would do anything for one another, but also shows how families can have traditions among themselves that goes back generations. what the Kings’ tradition is has to do with what they name their children. since their last name is King they name their children after great rulers in history, Alexander, David (after King David in the Bible), and Victoria (After Queen Victoria of England). another thing that is mentioned early on is church. they mention that even though they have just moved they will still find a church to go to on Sunday morning. This says to me that even though things may be crazy at the moment there is something that will never change that is a constant, God.
I don’t want to give away what happens in the later books, so I will not say to much more. The King family represents a dynamic that I think is being lost in today’s society. Family that will stick with one another, no matter what happens, kids who respect their parents, even if they don’t always show it. To me the overall message of these books is that with your family and friends and most importantly God, you can get through anything that is sent your way. So if you need a good Mystery book to read, I Highly recommend Dreamhouse Kings By Robert Liparulo.