I very much enjoy when books creep me out and give me goosebumps. Juniper Berry by MP Kozlowsky read in 2011 for the Dewey 24 Hour Readathon accomplished this. Juniper, the titular main character, has celebrity parents. You’d think her life is baller, but lately her parents have been acting weird, with no time nor thoughts to spare for her. Juniper then makes a friend, Giles, who is a lonely and neglected boy dealing with the same issues as her.
Together, Juniper Berry (yes that’s her full name) and Giles set out to discover why their parents are acting weird. The investigation leads to an underworld where basically Skeletor is in charge and bargaining with red balloons filled with secrets. Juniper Berry by MP Kozlowsky is an imaginative read filled with themes of temptation – what you want vs. what you need.
Y’all Juniper Berry is terrifying. I mean, imagine being a kid and waking up with parents who all of a sudden don’t acknowledge your existence. That sucks. THEN you find the underworld in your backyard and have to battle the villain from He-Man. That is what I call a hard knock life, bro. Horror ALL AROUND Y’ALL!
What I enjoyed besides the fact that there is a dog that does not die (YEAH BUDDY) is the moral dilemma that MP Kozlowsky presents for kids. Juniper Berry does not contain condescending writing, meaning it’s not written down, nor is the moral in stark black and white. There’s a gray area where the readers can see there are nuances in both choices — doing the easy thing or the right thing.
Frankly, Juniper Berry by MP Kozlowsky is a book I’d tell you to read in the fall or a rainy day, being an atmosphere reader myself. I distinctly remember a rainy scene and the kids wandering around in the woods always conjure fall for me. Juniper Berry is an interesting selection if you are fine with horror and bigger questions.
Disclosure: Borrowed from the library.
This is a CYBILS book.