LaFleur, Suzanne. Eight Keys. New York: Scholastic, 2011. Print.
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Twelve year old Elise (Cricket) lives with her Aunt Bessie and Uncle Hugh. Her mom died in childbirth and her dad passed away a few years later from cancer. Elise does not have a great first day at middle school thanks to her locker partner Amanda Betterman. Her best friend Franklin suddenly becomes a "loser" that Elise tries to disassociate from so she won't be picked on by Amanda and friends.
The rest of the school year just gets worse.
One day, though, Elise finds a key with her name on it in the barn. Uncle Hugh's barn is really a craftsman workshop, but she's never been allowed upstairs--until now when this key will unlock one of the 8 rooms. She enters the first room to find a message from her deceased father. Yes, he had the foresight to create this gift for Elise before the cancer killed him. As the days pass, she finds more keys to unlock more rooms. Each room is giving Elise a sense of who she is, where she comes from and who she might be as she grows up without her parents, but still surrounded by people who love her.
The book is divided into three parts and told from Elise's first person point of view. This was a thoughtful story that made me think about friendships and how family isn't always defined by blood relation.