A young adult story best suited for middle school and beyond youths, Geoffrey Cook’s Veronica and the Volcano, is a gripping tale that will keep readers on the edge of their seats and unable to put the book down. Veronica wants to make a special gift for her mother and convinces her father (and her mother) to let her go to Mount Mystery to retrieve special pearls. Veronica’s father, her best friend, Maddy and Maddy’s father go with her. Encountering life-threatening danger again and again throughout their journey, they find more than they ever dreamed of. Cook wraps up the story with an odd twist at the end – one readers won’t see coming.
As thrilling and fascinating as Veronica and the Volcano is, parents must use extreme caution when allowing their children to read it. There are numerous scenes within Cook’s story that are on the edge of fitting into a horror novel, and at the least a highly frightening thriller. These are an odd mix with the colorful, child-focused illustrations in Veronica and the Volcano. There is also an odd jump as though the story has two unique and different parts about two-thirds of the way through the story. Perhaps it would have been better to have ended before the last set of thrilling scenes because they don’t really fit.
With that being said and with conscious awareness and caution used, Geoffrey Cook’s Veronica and the Volcano can be a very exciting read for middle schoolers and potentially high schoolers. There is a good deal of science and information on volcanoes, which can add an educational edge while being written in such a skillful manner so that readers will not be able to put the book down. Veronica and the Volcano is certainly not like any other book. It’s paradoxical nature of being written for younger readers with an older and heavier storyline might just be the perfect fit for more mature young adult readers.
Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.