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Blue Mountain Trouble

By Martin Mordecai 


A fresh new voice from Jamaica

Way up in the misty island mountains live eleven-year-old twins, Pollyread and Jackson Gilmore. Pollyread is smart as a whip and tart as a lime. Jackson's sweet as a mango. Both of them know all of the rules of their village - and how to break them.

But then a young thug named Jammy sweeps in to stir up the twins' world. He even seems to be targeting their family. But are Pollyread's sass and Jackson's steadiness enough to take him on - or will Jammy and his secret change the Gilmore family forever?


Reviews and Awards

Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Books of 2009
USBBY Outstanding International Book, 2010

⋆ "Jackson and Pollyread are 11-year-old twins who live in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains. One morning on their way to school, they encounter a “duppy” spirit, which appears to them as a hazily outlined goat. Only the twins can see the duppy; others only see it as a cloud. The family has become preoccupied with the dangerous antics of Jammy, the local Rasta ne’er-do-well who is squatting on their land, Mama’s mysterious illness and the twins’ very different results from the Common Entrance exams. Although extraneous details occasionally threaten to bog down the narrative, Mordecai’s balance of the ordinary and the supernatural is Virginia Hamilton–esque in its delicacy. Jackson and Pollyread emerge as distinct and entirely likable individuals, their mutual affection and love for their parents both endearing and believable, as is their distress at the consequences of their exam results. Adding to the strengths of this tale are the colorful descriptions of the local setting and the artfully rendered dialect. A gorgeous snapshot of a locale and culture not seen enough in children’s books." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“[R]ich in characterization with a beautifully realized setting. The elements of magic and mystery are intriguing, too, but best of all is the author’s use of wonderfully idiosyncratic, powerfully expressive, and downright musical Jamaican English.” - Booklist

“Mordecai’s descriptions of the close-knit community are clear and vivid without being obtrusive; there’s no instructional aspect to the story, though its setting will likely be unfamiliar to many readers. Likewise, since much of the dialogue is in a melodic Jamaican patois, readers use context and pattern—and cues from the characters—to infer meaning.... Readers won’t soon forget the time they spent with these spirited characters in a uniquely beautiful setting.” - Horn Book

“First-time author Mordecai, a native Jamaican, brings the Blue Mountain region of his homeland to life in a unique coming-of-age story tinged with mystery.... Through colorful narrative punctuated with regional colloquialisms and poetic language (“When you sleep your whole life under open windows in a place so quiet you can feel the night sky move, then rain when it wakes you is like God telling you stories”), the author captures the rhythm of the children’s daily life and effectively conveys their hopes, fears and family love as they look toward the future and learn secrets about the past.” Publishers Weekly


Purchase Options
Indiebound • Amazon • Barnes & Noble


Spring 2009
Middle Grade Novel
ISBN: 0-545-04156-2
Price: $16.99 / $21.99
Trim Size: 5  1/2" x 8  1/4"
Page Count: 352
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Scholastic
Rights Available? yes