Title: The Secret Room of Kaatu Temple
Author: Susan Srikant
Age Group: Middle Grade
Publication Date: October 15, 2013
At first Priya is excited about her trip to visit relatives in India. But when a strange man shows up at her uncle's house in Pollachi, Priya learns that someone has been keeping secrets, dangerous secrets, and that her family just happens to be involved in a curse on an ancient jungle temple! To protect her family, Priya and her friends decide to risk a hike to the temple to uncover its hidden treasure. Their adventure will teach them a terrifying lesson about greed and evil. A lesson that will be learned the hard way.
The Secret Room of Kaatu Temple is another great adventure novel written by Middle Grade author Susan Srikant. This time, Ms. Srikant takes her readers on an Indian adventure in order to find a majestic and possibly cursed ruby.
First of all, I was glad to find some diversity with the characters in this book. I haven't really come across Indian characters in many of the books I've read. The last book I encountered with Indian characters was A Little Princess, and I read that when I was eight, so yes... it's been a while.
The plot was cute and centers around Priya and her sister Jaya as they travel to India to visit relatives. When they get there, they quickly find out that something isn't right from their cousin Koman. Priya's uncle also fills her in on some important family history. Uncle Ravi, Priya, Jaya, and Koman travel to a village where they meet Palani, and together, the group sets out on a wonderful and thrilling adventure through the Indian jungle.
I did find quite a few typos in this book, but as an English teacher, they just seem to jump right off the page so I can notice them. I also found that parts of it were just a bit confusing with many of the characters being introduced at once, but I quickly realized they were mostly just secondary characters, and the rest of the book was easy to comprehend.
I'd recommend this book for children in grades four through six, and possibly some seventh and eighth graders. I think they would enjoy the plot and the characters. I also think it would help introduce them to a new culture as Ms. Srikant is very careful to include bits and pieces of the Tamil language in the book. She also includes many Indian customs in the book. Readers would not only be entertained, but they would learn something new about a culture that really isn't taught in schools.
3.75 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the author, Susan Srikant, in exchange for an honest review.