Laura Wolfe's debut novel has stuck with me since I read it earlier in the year, and I can't go any longer without expressing my praise for the book!
Anyone who knows my tastes will realize right away that Trail of Secrets is a cumulation of everything that I love... mysteries, missing persons, and summer camp! (have you seen my film Secrets in the Fall?!) Set against the backdrop of prestigious Foxwoode Riding Academy, sixteen-year-old Brynlei arrives at camp anticipating three weeks full of horseback riding and new friends, but discovers a dark secret that isn't advertised in the brochure: four years ago a young camper disappeared on a trail ride and was never seen again.
I am always fascinated by stories revolving around people who disappear without a trace, because it happens over 2,000 times a day in the US alone, for a multitude of reasons. But how does someone just disappear? A popular tagline on missing person shows and crime specials is "someone knows something", but sometimes finding that certain someone can be just as difficult as finding the missing person themselves. Brynlei becomes enthralled by the mystery of the missing camper, almost at the expense of her own safety, not to mention the coveted "Top Rider" award she has her heart set on winning.
As hard as I tried, I couldn't guess how Trail of Secrets would end, although I had several theories that weren't too far off. I enjoyed the incorporation of horseback riding and terminology, which Wolfe seems to be very knowledgable of, although, as a non-rider, I sometimes I found myself skimming the paragraphs about grooming the horses and preparing for rides, etc. The first few chapters had me wondering if the focus of the story would be about horses or about a mystery, but as soon as things started picking up I found the book impossible to put down. The characters were likable and real, and I was intrigued by Brynlei's HSP condition, which was something I hadn't read about before. I also have to mention that I loved the fact that this YA novel was enjoyable without being littered with language, sex, drugs, etc. I would love to see Trail of Secrets turned into a film, as it would bode well on Hallmark or even Disney Channel.
To wrap up my ramblings... Trail of Secrets is a fast-paced novel that will be enjoyed by horse lovers and mystery lovers alike. Highly Recommended! I look forward to reading the next book in Laura Wolfe's Dark Horse series.