Eleven-year-old Michael Murray is the best at two things: keepy-uppies and keeping secrets. His family thinks he's too young to hear grown-up stuff, but he listens at doors; it's the only way to find out anything. And Michael's heard a secret, one that might explain the bruises on his mother's face. When the whispers at home and on the street become too loud to ignore, Michael begins to wonder if there is an even bigger secret waiting to be discovered. Scared of what might happen if anyone finds out, and desperate for life to be normal again, Michael sets out to piece together the truth. But he also has to prepare for the upcoming talent show, keep an eye out for Dirty Alice, his arch-nemesis, and avoid eating Granny's watery stew. Closed Doors is a vivid evocation of the fears and freedoms of childhood and a powerful tale of love, the loss of innocence, and the importance of family in difficult times.
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Lisa O'Donnell is the nationally bestselling, award-winning author of The Death of Bees. She lives in Los Angeles.
Simon Vance, a former BBC Radio presenter and newsreader, is a full-time actor who has appeared on both stage and television. He has recorded over eight hundred audiobooks and has earned five coveted Audie Awards, and he has won fifty-seven Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, which has named him a Golden Voice.
*Starred Review* Feisty, young Michael Murray likes to eavesdrop through doors. When his mother arrives home with bruises on her face, he is confused and frightened by what he hears. Soon after, Michael is shunned by certain schoolmates, and his father becomes a pariah in their small community. But why? Over the course of several months, Michael manages to piece together the events of that fateful night and learns the secret that is tearing his family apart. Set in the early 1980s on a picturesque island off the coast of Scotland, the novel is told in first person from Michael’s perspective. O’Donnell wonderfully captures the voice of a precocious (and quite likable) 11-year-old as he grapples with issues and emotions he may not fully understand. The novel asks (and possibly answers) two important questions—to what extent should children be protected from the truth, and does silence do more harm than good? While it deals with disturbing subject matter, this is an engaging page-turner that effectively explores the trials and tribulations of childhood with warmth and humor. --Kerri Price
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