Sam is haunted by the number eleven which keeps showing up in his dreams and in the wisps of memory that haunt his conciousness. He finds another clue on a newspaper clipping sticking out of a locked box in the attic. He can make out the word “missing” over a photo of himself, but he is unable to read the rest.
Sam can’t read words on the page, but he can read the feel of wood as he works with his grandfather in his furniture shop. So Sam recruits the new girl, Caroline, to read the pages for him. They piece together clues as well as a castle they build together before Caroline is moving on again. She never stays anywhere long enough to make friends outside of the books she constantly reading.
I enjoyed the suspense that builds on Sam’s frustration with reading–or rather his lack of reading as the letters squirm across the page like spiders. I also liked the growing friendship between Sam and Caroline as they piece together the puzzle of Sam’s past. This would be a good book for those fans of Caroline Cooney’s Face on the Milk Carton series. With Eleven (Scholastic, 2008), Patricia Reilly Giff has created a mystery that explores frienship and the power of words.