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Book Reviews

YOUNG ADULT (VIDEO) BOOK REVIEW of The Communing Tree, a new young adult novel by Oregon author, Theresa Voorboort of Hillsboro, Oregon. This video book review features 14 year old Andrea who speaks emphatically about how much she wants the author to finish writing the sequel to The Communing Tree.


Interviewer: "Okay, I'm ready go ahead."


Andrea: "I'm mad that you made it a cliffhanger - you need to make another book because I hate cliffhangers and I want to know what happens!"


Interviewer: (laughter) "Okay, what don't you know -- you want to know what happens?"


Andrea: "I want to know if her little sister ever speaks verbally again, and if her little sister likes school and if her older sister ever gets married -- to Paul! I wanna know that! I wanna know how her life goes on and what her little sister does also! I want to know all those things!"


Interviewer: (laughter) "Awesome."

An enthusiastic book review of The Communing Tree by 15 year old Andrea of Keizer, Oregon

My 7th graders enjoyed reading "The Communing Tree," most notably my "reluctant readers." I have students who became so absorbed by the story that it was difficult to get them to stop reading when class was over--and that's always the mark of an excellent read! ~ Jordia Blumenstein, middle-school English teacher at Pacific Crest Community School in Portland, Oregon 


Student quotes [from The Communing Tree]:

"It's creepy, but not too creepy"

"It's suspenseful--I want to know what happened and what will happen next."

"I like how dark it is; it's literally dark in the woods and dark figuratively, too." 

Pacific Crest Community School:
Teachers at Pacific Crest Community School will tell you that they are part of something unique and empowering in the world of education: unique because of the opportunities they and their students have to build open-hearted, dynamic relationships with each other; empowering because both are encouraged to approach the learning and teaching process creatively, in their own special way.

"Reluctant Readers" love The Communing Tree

​The Communing Tree takes place in 1979 when survivalism was really picking up steam. I was a teenager growing up in Niagara, Oregon back then. I remember how my Dad had my brothers help him bury a great big metal container full of food in our woodshed. Vietnam was almost always the topic around our dinner table and two of my brother's draft numbers were close to being called. I'm still relieved that they didn't have to go.

This YA wilderness survival story is told by Judith, a young girl whose survivalist family moves her and her family, including her grandmother (who I loved) clear up into the rugged Kalmiopsis wilderness of Oregon. They live off the land, essentially homesteading. I enjoyed the details about gardening, goats, cabin life and canning. It was fascinating, how they managed to make a life there. But they need money and decide to grow pot. Don't worry, the parents are not potheads. But their decision does lead to a terribly tragic event. Judith has to grow up overnight. She shows such courage and determination, finding food and shelter. She takes care of her little sister who got so scared, she stopped talking altogether. 

As you may be able to tell, I found myself completely drawn into the story. Judith describes how they survive -- her voice is rhythmic, almost hypnotic. Her story is a blow-by-blow account that kept me wanting to know what would happen next.

The Communing Tree is a thrilling read for all ages and even though it's intense, it's family friendly and intelligently written. I gave it to two of my nieces and they devoured it. I hope you enjoy it too! - ACollen

A suspenseful read

We just landed in Reykjavik and I finished your book on the way over. I’m impressed ... it really captured my interest. Your naturalist and survivalist knowledge is something I never knew about you. Thanks for writing The Communing Tree. I’m anxiously awaiting your next work. Greg

Hello Theresa...

The Communing tree started off with a shock and a hook that never let go. Hard to put down, but so fascinating and unusual, I savored it for three whole days. Also great for military vets, survivalists and anyone who loves the great outdoors. [Amazon Book Review] 

Never a dull moment...

I have had the pleasure to read quite a few drafts of this page-turner. A published author myself, I am aware of the meticulous effort it takes to rewrite a book over and over until it's polished. From Theresa's first draft I knew immediately it was a wonderful novel--one that not only kids will love but adults will find fascinating, as well. I really don't know who could read the first chapter and not want to read all the rest. It's gripping. Theresa's knowledge of Oregon is vast and comes from first-hand experience; thus, the Kalmiopsis wilderness becomes an important character, too. Imagine two young girls on their own in the middle of such country! It is exciting and heart-warming all the way from the first page through the last. [Amazon Book Review]  

A page-turner...

Great story with so much interesting information about living in the wild. Super well researched and just an overall engaging and intriguing tale. [Amazon Book Review] 

Great story...