Monday, May 17, 2021

Review: The Seeing Scroll by J.T. Grobler

It's Monday again and the beginning of a brand new reading week! Today's review follows the middle grade theme I seem to have going this month. This one comes from South Africa (yes, I've got literature greeting from all over the world this month, too) and heads into a lovely mystery mixed with fantasy. Friendship and family are big as well as quite a bit of fun. I was surprised it's only 168 pages because it does pack quite the adventure.

But why don't you take a look for yourself.

by J.T. Grobler
The National Library of South Africa
Middle Grade Fantasy
168 pages
ages 8 to 12

A children’s mystery adventure with a little bit of magic.

When police exhume the body in her grandfather’s coffin, 12-year-old Gia Lance already knows that it isn’t him. And given that her dad won’t believe her, what choice does she have but to enlist the help of her drama-king best friend? Their search for her grandfather leads to the discovery of a secret riddle, a hidden plateau and an enchanted scroll steeped in mystery. It lures them by exposing visions – fragments of well-kept secrets.

Gia soon grapples with an eerie tale of a dungeon, an ill-fated ship, a missing child, and the legendary curse of the Seeing Scroll. But whose secrets are they? How does the scroll decide what she sees? Who can she trust? More importantly, what does it any of it have to do with her grandfather?

Time is running out. For Gia to connect the dots, she must confront the idea of her grandfather not being who she thought he was and acknowledge the possibility of him being cursed. But there are people after the scroll. Dangerous people! Clearly, they’ll do anything to ensure their secrets remain buried. Maybe even their crimes. Can Gia evade them on her quest to solve the riddle and figure out how to save her grandfather without being duped by the scroll’s delicious secrets, or will he be forever lost?


                                               * quick paced adventure
                                               * friendship golden
                                               * family love and support
                                               * secrets and tension
                                               * just the right dose of magic


This is a fast paced, quick read, which promises tons of adventure, mystery, and even a bit of magic.

Gia knows her grandfather isn't in the casket, when the police exhume the body. She was involved in the accident and has a cast to show for it. But nobody believes what she says anyway and thinks she has a confused memory...which she does. A little but she knows something isn't right. She has no clue whose body is in the casket or what's going on, especially when she receives a mysterious key in the mail and no instructions. Sure it has something to do with her grandfather's study, she tugs her best friend into the mix. There, they discover the magical Seeing Scroll...a piece of paper which seems to tug them somewhere else for a few moments...a dangerous somewhere. In order to save her grandfather, she needs to figure out what the Seeing Scroll is all about and that while staying ahead of the people chasing her. If she doesn't, her grandfather might be really gone forever.

This book was really quite a bit of fun. It dives straight into the problem, not allowing for a second's moment to spare. The author has done a great job at grabbing the reader's attention and zooming right away into the mystery and tension. Gia and her best friend are a wonderful pair to follow, too. Gia has a good head on her shoulders and a huge heart for her grandfather. It's hard not to like her and fever for her as she, without a moment's hesitation, hits the task of trying to find and save her grandfather. Her best friend might be a bit more hesitant, but he won't leave her to handle it alone. It's a great friendship from beginning to end.

There are tons of secrets in this one, and these come with dangerous situations and edge-of -the-seat tension. It's hard to guess what's coming next, and the supporting characters leave the reader guessing at their true intentions. The clues are nicely laid, making it a book which is hard to put down. Thanks to the fast pace, there were some things which happened a bit too suddenly, but this didn't hurt the read or the adventure. 

It's a fun ride, which is sure to grab even reluctant readers. In other words, a perfect read to pick up for the summer.

And here he is...

I live in Somerset West, South Africa with my awesome husband and phenomenal daughter. We share our space with two formidable Staffordshire terriers. My favorite breed, but honestly, anything furry that let’s me hug it or take it on a walkabout, surely has a kind soul.

When I’m not writing, I’m probably strolling with my furry friends through the local farmer’s vineyards or dawdling along the beach.  I can often be found watching an active slipway.

I’m also blessed with a pair of African Grey parrots who love to jabber about what I said earlier.

My favorite authors while growing up were Enid Blyton, and Carolyn Keene. What bliss it was, solving those mysteries. And when I got my hands on Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, followed shortly by The Water Babies, a love of fantasy was born.

I got my first writing job from a third-grade teacher – 100 lines of I must not eat in class.

Author website:

Twitter handle: @JT_Grobler

Instagram: jt_grobler

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