Close to the Heel

  • Pages:272
  • Publisher:Orca Book Publishers
  • Series: Seven (the Series)
  • Themes:Family, adventure, action, grandfather and grandsons, courage
  • Available:10/10/2012
  • Age Groups:Fiction Ages 9-12
  • Lexile:620L
  • ATOS:4.1
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No one is more surprised than Rennie to hear that his late grandfather, whom he hardly knew, has left a mission for him to fulfill. Rennie is to fly to Iceland and deliver a message from beyond the grave, but when he gets there, nothing is simple or straightforward. For one thing, Brynja, the teenage daughter of the family he's staying with, is downright hostile. Her father Einar, who is to be Rennie's guide in Iceland, is preoccupied with looking after his elderly father-in-law, an old friend of Rennie's grandfather. Bored and a little bit annoyed, Rennie explores the town and becomes aware that the family is dealing with more than their grief over Brynja's mother's death the year before. Before he realizes what is happening, his curiosity puts Rennie in grave danger, with no one to trust and no one to save him except himself.

Rennie's adventures start in Slide, part of The Seven Prequels and continue in From the Dead, part of The Seven Sequels.
"Written as one of a set of seven linked novels to be released simultaneously, this story easily stands on its own...McClintock writes with her usual simple prose that can appeal to a broad audience, scattering little clues for astute readers and highlighting Iceland's interesting culture. Rennie's defiant character will appeal to many reluctant readers, who may be moved to try another in the series. A neat, suspenseful mystery tailor-made for young readers."
– Kirkus Reviews
"McClintock's style is ideal for this series. Her characters are well-developed, and secrets are revealed only gradually, leaving the murderer's identity in doubt until the final pages. She also includes much local colour...and lightens the story with a sense of humour...This title stands alone, but the intriguing series' premise and the sense of mystery and adventure should prompt middle grade readers to ask for more."
– CM Magazine
"From the very first chapter, I was already intrigued—it opened with a bang, and instantly left me wanting to know how Rennie, the main character, was going to find his footing...I really enjoyed the back story for this book, and the sense of adventure it instilled in my mind before the real adventure even began. I like how the author didn't unnecessarily waste time on the scenes and dialogue leading up to the true heart of the tale, and I found that I couldn't turn the pages fast enough-eager to see where she was taking both Rennie and me...Overall this book was compact and quick-paced....I [am] intensely curious to read the stories of the other 6 grandsons. I'll be getting my hands on those as soon as I can."
– Bound by Words blog
"A quick middle-years read that will satisfy your inner child's need for mystery, action and adventure! "
– Guiltless Reading blog
"I enjoyed this book. Rennie was a good protagonist who, despite not being the exemplary hero, was still quite competent and adept at solving the challenges that Iceland threw his way...Another good addition to the Seven series."
– Teen reviewer, San Francisco Book Review
"The readers will find themselves cheering for Rennie and hoping he completes his task. This novel will be enjoyed by those who enjoy books with mystery and adventure."
– Resource Links
"[The] adventures are exciting and readers will be anxious to pick up the next book in the series. Great for middle grade boys who want realistic fiction with action and suspense."
– NJ Youth Services
"Readers are immediately propelled into an action-driven plot with an intriguing back story. An unexpected plot twist will keep readers rapidly turning pages to the very end."
– TriState YA Book Review Committee
Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Quick Picks   | 2013  |  Commended
CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens   | 2013  |  Commended

Download the Seven (the Series) Teacher Guide.