Dani is a Book & Wine Pairing Blogger from the mountains of West Virginia. She loves to read anything she can get her hands on while sipping on a glass of wine and snuggling with her fur-babies.

Professional ReaderReviews Published


By Pete Hautman


Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: September 11, 2018
Genre: Middle Grade


What happened in the woods that day? Pete Hautman’s riveting middle-grade novel touches on secrets and mysteries — and the power of connections with family and friends.

“Hatred combined with lies and secrets can break the world.” Grandpa Zach used to say that before he died, but Stuey never really knew what he meant. It was kind of like how he used to talk about quantum physics or how he used to say ghosts haunted their overgrown golf course. But then one day, after Stuey and his best friend, Elly Rose, spend countless afternoons in the deadfall in the middle of the woods, something totally unbelievable happens. As Stuey and Elly Rose struggle to come to grips with their lives after that reality-splitting moment, all the things Grandpa Zach used to say start to make a lot more sense. This is a book about memory and loss and the destructive nature of secrets, but also about the way friendship, truth, and perseverance have the ability to knit a torn-apart world back together.



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Author Bio:


This page is for people who think that if someone wrote an interesting book, they must be an interesting person.  Don't you know that if you like an author's work you should hope never to meet him (or her) in person? More than once I have admired a writer and then, upon meeting him (or her), discovered him (or her) to be a self-involved jerk with the personality of a rabid weasel. And don't you find gendering exhausting?

The good news is, you are in luck, as I am not a weasel. If I resemble any member of the Mustelidae family it would be the sea otter, because I love sea urchin, which is what sea otters eat. Also, I am not rabid.

The bad news?  I’m nowhere near as interesting to you as you are to yourself, and probably even less interesting to you than your lint-filled navel. Nevertheless, I am compelled by various forces to share information about myself—such as my middle name (Murray), how I like my eggs cooked (poached, or gently scrambled with fresh black Perigord truffle, please), and whether or not I believe in God.

This is also a good page for students who have an "'author report" due tomorrow morning. So here's some miscellaneous personal info. I'll be brief:

I was born in 1952 in Berkeley, California.  I lived in the Bay Area until I was five, by which time I had three younger siblings. In 1958 we moved to St. Louis Park, Minnesota, where my parents continued to produce offspring.  By 1964 I had four brothers and two sisters. I attended Cedar Manor Elementary School (also the alma mater of Al Franken and the Coen brothers), and eventually graduated honor-free from St. Louis Park High School.  This is so tedious. Why do you keep reading?

For the next seven years I attended college, first at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, then at the University of Minnesota, where I took nearly every one-level class offered, but very few three- or five-level classes.  I left college without graduating, but knowing a little bit about nearly everything, and a great deal about absolutely nothing.  That superficial education now serves me well at cocktail parties, and as a novelist.

After college I worked various jobs for which I was ill-suited, including sign painter, graphic artist, marketing executive, painter cap salesman, pineapple slicer, etc. Eventually, having no better options, I decided to write a novel. I finished writing Drawing Dead in 1991. Two years later it was published by Simon & Schuster.

In 2004 my novel Godless won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. That's a huge deal if you are a writer. It made me deliriously happy.

Today, I live with novelist and poet Mary Logue in Golden Valley, Minnesota and Stockholm, Wisconsin. We have two small dogs (are you still reading?) named Gaston and Baudelaire. When I'm not writing or reading, I like to cook, run, bike, inline skate, hunt mushrooms, look at art, and take naps.

There you have it. More than half a century compressed into a few short paragraphs. Feel free to copy and paste for your school project, but don't tell anyone I suggested it. Need to know more? (source)

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Review & Wrap-Up:

When I first began reading Otherwood, I immediately related Stuey and Elly Rose’s relationship to that of Carl Fredricksen and his late wife, Ellie, from the Disney-Pixar movie Up. Quiet Stuey meets outgoing Elly Rose, and immediately the bond is created, making this unbreakable friendship.

When Elly Rose tells Stuey that they are soul mates, my love for their relationship grew, not knowing that once the reality-splitting moment occurred, that I would really and truly understand that they are soul mates.

Pete Hautman then surprised me more by very subtly laying the groundwork to explain quantum physics, a concept he had been mentioning throughout the book in reference to Stuey’s grandfather, Zach, and his love to study it. But quantum physics, friendship and soul mates aren’t the only lessons Pete teaches; he teaches how you honor the memory of those you’ve lost and how destructive secrets can be.

Otherwood is a fantastical story that helps young readers to understand the basic principles behind unbreakable friendship, soul mates, and quantum physics. I highly recommend it to young readers and adults alike!


From one bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.

Dani's Score out of 5: 📚📚📚📚 🔖

(A bookmark:🔖, is a half a stack of books. i.e: 📚📚🔖 = a score of 2.5) 

Pair it with: Te’a Roa Sauvignon Blanc

Pure, bright flavors of pear and lemon zest, accented with green nettle notes. Expressive and approachable, this classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and clean with a lovely acidity and minerality. This food friendly wine pairs well with salads and lighter pasta dishes. Also try with fresh seafood such as seared Ahi tuna. And of course, pair with Pete Hautman’s Otherwood!

Get your bottle here!

Have a book you’d like to suggest or one you’d like me to review? Please feel free to leave your comments down below.