THE RED ABALONE SHELL is scheduled for release in early September. 

Three reviewers comment on the book:

1. The second installment of The Last Crystal Trilogy is even more engaging than the first as Grace’s son, James, sets out on a journey full of danger, discovery, memory, and maturity. Schoonmaker skillfully and meticulously weaves even more history into this story, as we watch World War I unfold and witness how individual liberties can be so easily and tragically curtailed in the name of narrow-minded nationalism masquerading as patriotism. An important message for today perhaps. 

Once again, the fantasy and magic driving this tale are the glue that keeps it enchanting and mysterious, but this volume adds more historical depth to the brew. Thankfully, Schoonmaker has also captured the danger of the Old West in wonderfully tense scenes without dragging the reader through violent, gore-ridden shoot-outs. There is also a delightful humor to this story in moments that are well-placed to move the plot and balance the emotion. I so look forward to seeing how this story continues in the final volume.

Kimberly Younce Schooley, Secondary School Teacher, Bishop Mackenzie International School, Lilongwe, Malawi

2. The Red Abalone Shellis one of those books that will keep you up late reading to find out what happens next. It is easy to get caught up in this engaging story that follows James after he is found on church steps with his beloved and loyal dog Old Shep. While James loves his adoptive parents, a pacifist German-American couple, he is eager to know more about where he comes from beyond his fragments of memories. The adventure that follows is filled with memorable characters and vivid settings. Woven throughout the story are fascinating historical details about life in the United States on the brink of entering World War I, which will intrigue anyone interested knowing more about this time period. I look forward to sharing The Red Abalone Shell with my students. I know that they will also be quickly caught up in James’ adventure and not be able to put it down. 

Jennifer Goodwin, Assistant Principal, The Salk School of Science, M.S. 255, New York City Public Schools 

3. The Red Abalone Shell is the perfect story for any middle grade reader who loves fantasy, mystery, historical fiction, and adventure all in one book. This second book in The Last Crystal Trilogy is the perfect companion to the first book, The Black Alabaster Box, or as a stand alone novel. The book is set during the early 20th century American life. Historical accuracy is obviously paramount to Schoonmaker and lessons on inclusivity and bullying are seamlessly woven in to create a story with rich detail and life lessons. Children won’t even realize how much history they are learning while reading this epic tale. 

Angela J. Horjus, Head Librarian of the Lower School Libraries, Glenelg Country School, Ellicott City, MD