Review of The Secrets of Cricket Karlsson

The Secrets of Cricket Karlsson The Secrets of Cricket Karlsson
by Kristina Sigunsdotter; illus. by Ester Eriksson; trans. from Swedish by Julia Marshall
Intermediate    Gecko    112 pp.   g
5/22    978-1-77657-427-8    $18.99

Eleven-year-old Cricket keeps a journal describing her turmoil after a bout of chicken pox that kept her home from school for two weeks. During that time her best friend deserts her for “the horse girls,” a cliquish set of mean girls who ride horses after school and tease her mercilessly. Additionally, her beloved aunt is hospitalized; she discovers letters from a man her mother loved before Cricket’s father; and the only classmate who is kind to her suffers from an unrequited crush. Cricket’s voice is strong, sometimes funny, often filled with pain: “When I think about the fun Noa and I used to have my chest hurts as if my heart is an overcooked potato about to become mash.” Eriksson’s ­prolific art, with strong black lines and distorted images, extends the sense of discomfort and anxiety that permeates the protagonist’s writing. The horse girls, for example, are pictured with actual horse heads digging up Cricket’s secrets from a graveyard. Originally published in Swedish, the novel successfully conveys the challenges both of navigating school and friendships and of making sense of a perplexing adult world.

From the July/August 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.