Shake the Spiders
by Anne Wentworth
When her Grandma Haley warns her to shake the spiders from her shoes, Kim comes to understand those words can also apply to all the unhappy things that life has brought her.
Life hasn’t been kind to Kim Baylor. She’s fourteen going on old. After losing her dad seven years ago, life has gone downhill. Her mom’s drinking is taking a real toll on both their lives and Kim just wants to survive the chaos. Kim is dumped off at her grandma’s farm in small-town Manitoba for the summer, though she hasn’t seen her grandma since before her dad died. Life really starts to change—Kim finds Grandma Haley and her two odd friends aren’t the country bumpkins she’d thought they’d be.
Then life on the farm takes on a spooky twist with paranormal sightings and the legend of Rawlings Mannakee’s lost gold. With Jammer—her grandma’s huge black cat—at her side, she embarks on a summer filled with trying to understand the mysterious events at Haley’s farm, solving the mystery of the missing Mannakee gold and beginning her own process of healing from her mother’s destructive drinking.
Kim isn’t your ordinary fourteen year old girl. She may look young on the outside, but once you get to know her, you’ll realize she’s got the whole world on her shoulders. Especially her drunk mom’s world. Kim’s the one running the household, tried to make ends meet while her good-for-nothing mom wastes away.
Summertime, Kim finds herself dumped at her grandma Haley’s house in Manitoba. Her mom Lilian tells her it’s only for the summer, but deep inside Kim knows, she’s never gonna get her back.
Now, life in Manitoba is quite different from what she expected. Living with Grandma Haley has its perks – she’s fed on breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between. She gets to rest and relax and not think about all the household chores. Plus, she gets a cat for a pet, which she fondly calls Jammer. And soon she meets unusual neighbors and characters and then some.
Until she discovers a bouncing and glowing orb of light at night, hears sounds from afar, and things get moved out of place. Could there be a ghost or something paranormal in her Grandma’s house? Or is this related to the urban legend of Manakee’s missing gold?
Shake the Spiders is Anne Wentworth’s newest novel that instantly brought tears and smile on my face. Tears because I couldn’t help but cry over little Kim’s internal struggles. Imagine living with a mother who drank alcohol day to night, didn’t mind her own daughter, didn’t care if there’s food on the table. Lilian only got to behave when she got a new boyfriend/live-in partner who seemed like a good fellow.
I began smiling again when Kim soon got settled at Grandma Haley’s house. Life began treating her good. And those random light displays at night and misplaced objects at her house got me all curious, too. I love the mystery in the story. Very light, yet very intriguing. The other characters were fun to read, especially Jez and Harry. (Harry’s crickets could sing! Or so he says…) These two seem to get into each other’s nerves but always get along at the end of the day.
I could say more about this book, but I’m afraid of I might blurt out more spoilers so I gotta stop. I am honored I was able to read this ARC from the author herself. She’s really got a talent in storytelling. Anne immediately pulled me in to her world. She’s got a lot of surprises and I believe she’ll be shocking us more in her next books!