When Stanly discovers the skeleton growing in his yard, he knows immediately that he has the perfect entry for the Young Discover’s Competition. The skeleton is also apparently his younger sister Merin’s new best friend, able to make her laugh when nothing else can. As Merin gets sicker and sicker, however, Stanly begins to wonder if the mysterious skeleton isn’t more of a curse than a blessing.
Although Skeleton Tree seems at first glance as though it will be something between a horror novel and a mystery, it is really a story about family. The relationship between Stanly and Merin will resonate with many readers, as Stanly vacillates between love for his sister and annoyance at her tendency to cry and tell everything to Mom. He also bears a large portion of responsibility for caring for her, which his single mother rarely seems to adequately recognize. The family dynamics are what make this book truly come alive, even when the plot focuses on Stanly’s investigation of the mysterious skeleton and its intentions toward Merin. At times funny, creepy, and poignant, Skeleton Tree offers a thoughtful look at what truly brings a family together.