Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure is written by Susan K. Marlow and published by Kregel Publications, 2010. I think this book will be an exciting, fun read for tween girls, especially those who like horses and outdoor life. An adventure novel set in California of 1881, it is one of the later books in the Circle C Adventure series.

In Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure thirteen-year-old Andi and her two friends accompany Andi’s older brother, Mitch, on a camping trip into the Sierras. They ride horses, fish for trout, pan for gold and sleep under the stars. It’s a pleasant, easy-going time until one of the horses encounters a rattlesnake and injures Andi’s friend, Jenny. Mitch detours the trip to a small mountain town where he hopes to find medical help.

Resuming their trek into the mountains, Mitch and the kids come upon a cabin being used by outlaws. Mitch is shot during a gun battle despite his attempts to leave peaceably. The kids must figure out how to keep Mitch alive. Which they do. However, their need to figure out how to handle difficult situations is not over. A mountain lion prowls around the cabin at night and the third member of the outlaw gang shows up. With these experiences Andi’s relationship with God grows as she practices relying on Him for strength and wisdom. She also learns that growing up is about thinking and acting wisely and not about giving up the outdoor life she loves for more “ladylike” activities.

As you may have read, I think  too many books for young kids promote a “Superkids” mentality. This author doesn’t do that. She lets the kids be kids. They know they are in  perilous situations and they know those situations are beyond their capabilities. Andi is often in prayer, relying on God to help her overcome her fears and do the right thing. Andi also looks to her brother for counsel. He also tries to protect them and models sensible behavior. The kids do succeed in saving Mitch’s life and thwarting the third outlaw, but the author doesn’t make light of what the kids have gone through. The reader is told in passing that Andi has nightmares for several nights when she returns to the ranch.

I have one problem with the novel I think you might want to know about. The final fight scene between the villain and the kids is rather intense. The villain chokes Andi to the point where she nearly passes out.

Nancy Ellen Hird