I have many fond memories of my paternal grandfather- Of him showing me off at the newspaper office in his rural Arkansas town (he often wrote announcements about my accomplishments, which amounted to very little more than attending school). Of him teaching me to drive in his truck on the old highway filled with potholes and buckled pavement. When he would cook breakfast for the family on Sunday (he always cooked too much of every possible breakfast food imaginable and served my milk in my Princess Cup). Some of my absolute favorite memories, though, are of the stories he used to tell me. On car rides and in the evenings, he would let me sit close while he wove tales of the American Indian girl named GoWee (makes you giggle, huh?) and all of the adventure and mischief she would have.
When I began reading Kevin B Leigh’s Gollup the Woods | Twin Power, I was brought back to stories with my grandpa. Gollup was a tale begun by Kevin’s father. That key piece of information and the pages devoted to involving the reader in the telling connected me to the story and to Leigh immediately. This novel is obviously written with love and reverence for a very special man.
The story begins by introducing Seamus and Josie, thirteen year old boy/girl twins who were orphaned by a tragic accident. Seamus and Josie are on a class trip to Glendalough, Ireland when, while out exploring with friends Bally and JP, they are accidentally cast into a world of Irish magic. They find themselves in the midst of a war between good and evil with their family at the center.
Gollup the Woods is a fantastic tale for the young adult reader. Leigh’s characters are relateable, the story is rich to the senses, and the plot is fast paced and exciting. Seamus and Josie speak and reason as kids do, even while maturing to their place in the mystical thirteen worlds. As a mom, I appreciate that the content is not too graphic.
I can imagine this novel continuing our family’s (and Leigh’s!) tradition of story telling- it would be a fantastic shared read for parents and their 4th grade and older children. I’ll be keeping it on my e-shelf for that very reason.
And, if you enjoy a series, Leigh leaves you primed and ready at the end of Gollup the Woods for an equally exciting book two.
About Kevin B Leigh:
Kevin was raised in Walkinstown, a town on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland. Today, Kevin lives in Alden, in Western NY with his wife Mary and his three boys.
Kevin and his wife Mary focus their volunteer time with issues regarding children and were an emergency foster family before they had kids of their own. They support organizations like Kids Escaping Drugs (Ked.org) and Child and Family Services (cfsbny.org) in the Buffalo Area.
Kevin is well known in the Geocaching community where he spends much of his off time in the woods with his boys hunting for and hiding treasures.
His first book, “Gollup the Woods | Twin Power”, is the first in a series based on the childhood stories his father Noel J. Leigh told while commuting to their 15th century restored thatched cottage in Black Water, Wexford Ireland. “He was such a great storyteller, but was almost illiterate, so his stories were never written down. I know I can never tell them the same way, so I did my best interweaving his characters into my young adult version of his.”
After the tragic death of his dad (the Da), Kevin felt that the best way to grieve was to write about him. As the words flowed, new memories of his childhood and his experiences became the series of stories named Gollup the Woods.
When he finally relaxes, Kevin loves to curl up with a great book and a cup of proper Irish tea with his dog Guinness sleeping at his feet.
Twinstuff was provided a free download and paid sponsorship to review the book. All opinions are entirely our own!