Circle of Secrets

Critically acclaimed author Kimberley Griffiths Little weaves a haunting story of friendship and family and the power of faith, once again set against the lush backdrop of the Louisiana bayou.

After her mother walked out on Shelby Jayne and her dad, Shelby thought she’d never speak to her mamma again. But with her dad leaving the country for work, it turns out she doesn’t have a choice: Shelby has to move back into her mamma’s house, deep in the heart of the Louisiana bayou.

Her new classmates tease and torment her, so Shelby’s relieved to finally find a friend in Gwen, a mysterious girl who lives alone on the bayou. But Shelby can’t help wondering if Gwen has something to do with the puzzling messages she finds hidden in the blue bottle tree behind her house. The only person who might be able to explain is her mamma — but Shelby’s not ready to ask. Not yet. It may take a brush with something from the beyond to help Shelby see that the power to put her own ghosts to rest is within her reach.

Kimberley Griffiths Little’s haunting and powerful tale brings one girl’s attempt to grapple with family, friendship, and forgiveness to beautiful, vivid life.

CIRCLE OF SECRETS has been chosen for the 2012-2013 Battle of the Books List in New Mexico!

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Kirkus Reviews: "A steamy Louisiana bayou is the atmospheric backdrop to a tale about a daughter's estrangement from her mom, the mother's long-held guilty secret and a restless ghost's long-sought closure. Shelby gets drawn into mysterious doings involving strange notes hidden in glass bottles that hang from a tree near home . . The author serves up the setting well, evoking the sights, sounds and smells of the humid, tangled bayou. A very dramatic climax leads to a sweet, satisfying ending with some surprising twists and with reconciliation occurring for several characters.

For readers who like their ghost stories more friendly than terrifying." (Suspense. 9 -12)

**STARRED** Review from SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL: Gr 5-8– "A story of loss, love, and forgiveness. When Shelby Jane’s father is sent out of the country for his work and her Grandma Phoebe must have an operation, she is sent to live with her mama deep in the Louisiana bayou. Because Shelby, 10, believes that her mother abandoned her, the start of this mother/daughter reunion is contentious, and Shelby seems determined to maintain her distance. Mirage is a traiteur, a healer who ministers to those in need with herbal remedies, prayers, and patience. Selby’s reluctance to give an inch at first makes her transition to life in the bayou that much more difficult. She can’t, however, squelch her fascination with the blue bottle tree in the backyard. Mirage explains that the bottles are supposed to capture spirits and that notes are put inside to send messages from the beyond. A mysterious tone permeates this gripping story. Shelby is a believable, fully developed character, as is Mirage. When the child starts at her new school, she is drawn into a frightening truth-or-dare challenge by the in crowd, which foreshadows future eerie, terrifying developments. Her strong friendship with mysterious Gwen dovetails with her determination to understand notes she takes from the blue bottle tree and Mirage’s references to painful memories she is trying to forget. Little’s rich, vivid prose and characterization create an intriguing universe in which realism and mysticism intertwine as the story’s secrets unravel. Fans of Little’s The Healing Spell (Scholastic, 2010) and Donna Jo Napoli’s Alligator Bayou (Random, 2009) will be well served by this selection."

American Library Association BOOKLIST Review: "In this atmospheric story—part mystery, part ghost story—set deep in the Louisiana bayous, 11-year-old Shelby has her hands full. She has to contend not only with a contingent of malicious local bullies but also her conflicted feelings for her estranged mother, Mirage—a traiteur, or traditional healer—with whom she must live while her father travels on business. Tormented, she skips classes to meet up with a mysterious girl named Gwen who frequents a spooky bridge—the site of some of the bullies’ cruel games. Gwen also seems to be connected to the messages Shelby finds inside the blue bottles adorning her mother’s backyard “bottle” tree, as well as the heirloom charm bracelet bequeathed to Shelby by Mirage. Everything converges at the bridge during a dramatic and dangerous storm, and the final revelations make for a satisfying ending."
—Karen Cruze


  1. zakya romelus says:

    please if you can ,email me!!! also in the healing spell will there be another novel to the book telling if the mamma will ever wake up and how it is.

    Please,Please,Please,email me my answers by the way the healing spell was the best book I can really relate to it because I’m ELEVEN

    • Kasey Crawford says:

      OMG the healing spell is so GOOD!!!! But i think that there ISN’T going to be another book for The Healing Spell because there hasn’t been a squeal to any of her books. :(. I think the mama does wake up though. 🙂

    • Katelynn Brothers says:

      She told be that in the Circle of secrets and the rest of the books that at the very end of all those book it will tell you more about what happened with her mama.Were you mad that it was left on a cliffhanger?Reply back please.

  2. Starr Nesbitt says:

    This very minute I just finished The Healing Spell, its was awesome. Did Livie’s mom ever wake up from the sleeping sickness? Please email me.

  3. Lauren says:

    I CAN’T WAIT TO READ IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Shivani says:

    I just finished the healing spell and i really want to know if mamma will ever wake up!!!!!!! Please write a sequal to the healing spell!!!!! I an begging you!!!! Please!!!! I am also 11 so I am SO excited for your next book!!!! So please write a sequal to the healing spell!!!!!! Thank You!!

  5. Georgia says:

    PLEASE write sequal to Healing Spell!!! I want to see what happens between Livie and TJacues Landry!! Plus I want to see if Livie’s mom wakes up.

  6. kristennnnn says:

    Oh, and yes agreed with Georgia…. please make a sequel, I really want to know if the mom wakes up!

  7. Shaelee says:

    I am still reading ‘Circle of Secrets’ it is a great book and i love Mirage’s names for her pets they are so adorable. i love the idea of a Blue Bottle tree. I might make on at my house. Love the book and it’s one of those when I have to stop reading i stretch and yawn like i’ve been asleep. It’s so amazing!

  8. Triniti says:

    i LOVED Circle of Secrets the best book ever i got it when i was 9 and i never read it and now im 11 anjd i LOVE it SOOOOO much thank you Kimberly!!

  9. Bob says:

    I love this book!!!!!!! My mom got it for me and it is signed!!!! My mom is Kimberly’s friends and she comes to my book fair a lot!!!!

  10. Kelly says:

    Bob was moi and I was at school. I was bored working on a power point on Circle of Secrets, but I liked the book a lot:). Happy beloved Easter everybody!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. gabriella nicole says:

    loved the official trailor. maybe make it more animated>>?

  12. Madeline says:

    I love this book I wish I had it at my house

  13. Reese says:

    HEY guys! so i’ve read ALL of Kimberely Griffith’s Little’s book EXCEPT the circle of secrets, but for all of you guys asking if Livie’s mamma ever wakes up, she DOES in each book, she’s mentioned here in there. in The Time Of The Fireflies(my personal favorite!) Livie is mentioned and her Mamma is also mentioned (that she is alive and won an art competition!) just thought I’d let all of you guys know!!!
    also if your reading this, Kimberely I LOVE YOUR BOOKS SO MUCH!!! it would be my dream for you to reply. I LOVE THEM ALLL AHH

  14. Reese says:


  15. Kimberley Griffiths Little says:

    Hello Reese, I *love* that you’ve enjoyed my books so much – thank you, thank you! You are also a very astute reader, catching all those hints about Livie’s mother in the other books after The Healing Spell. 🙂

    Your sweet love about my books just made my whole day!

    Lots of Love back to you! (And I hope you see this reply!)

    Have a wonderful reading day! Go an Amazon and check out my other books, too!


  16. Reese says:

    Ahh I’m so happy you replied!!
    you just made my whole month haha
    your my favorite authorrr 💖💖💖

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