| Ravenstone Press
Stories of Kansas and the Great Plains
|The Secret of Whispering Springs
by Jerri Garretson
house was awesome. A stone mansion. Cassie never dreamed
such a house would exist on a hidden Kansas ranch. Even with its
windows and doors boarded up it was magnificent. You could imagine a
house like that with deep secrets hidden in its walls, mysteries behind
the weathered boards, maybe even a ghost in the tower.
When fourteen-year-old Cassie's family buys the grand old mansion on the prairie, she finds herself caught in a frightening web of intrigue. Her parents don't believe her visions of the past or her stories of the mysterious cold presence that whispers to her, nor do they heed her warnings about the dangerous stranger she knows is spying on them. When both the stranger and the ghostly presence want her help, Cassie must find a way to protect her younger brother from the stranger's sinister threats, solve the mystery of Whispering Springs, and free a dead girl's ghost from her family's past.
See video of author Jerri Garretson
talking about The Secret of
Is the mansion haunted?
What is hidden within its walls?
Will Cassie solve the mystery in time?
information for The Secret of Whispering Springs, by Jerri
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Library Consultant & LSTA Coordinator
Kansas State Library
Review Published in:
|"Jerri Garretson is an author and
librarian quite familiar to most children's and young adult librarians
across Kansas. But with the publication of The Secret of
Whispering Springs she has truly reached maturity as a writer. In
book, Jerri goes beyond the scope of anything she has written or
before, and it is the crowning accomplishment of her writing career to
date. The fourteen year old female lead character, Cassie, moves
into the magnificent old Victorian-style home with which virtually
Kansas commuity is blessed. But in this house there is a lurking,
cold but not unfriendly, presence, an entity that seems to whisper to
And she seems to have visions of the house in bygone days.
a dangerous stranger spies on the family and threatens her little
Cassie must solve the mystery, help both the stranger and the
entity and prove that she really is experiencing the seemingly
phenomena. Jerri uses a captivating combination of dialogue, different
and even penmanship to convey her story in a gripping fashion. Even the
cover, which is a photo of Jerri's own grandmother superimposed over a
mansion similar to the one described in the novel, is fascinating.
"For the best Jerri Garretson book so far, don't miss The Secret of Whispering Springs. Jerri recommends it for grades 5-8, but there are a lot of adults who will want to read this one. Recommended for middle school/junior high media centers, young adult and children's public library collections, academic young adult collections and Kansas collections."
Midwest Book Review
Volume 12, Number 6
|"Highly recommended for young readers attending school grades 5-8, The Secret of Whispering Springs by Jerri Garretson is a ghostly novel about a fourteen-year-old girl whose family moves into a grand mansion. The presence of a spirit whispering warnings places the heroine in the center of a dangerous mystery that she must solve before time runs out. A spooky and involving read for young adults, The Secret of Whispering Springs is quite appropriate for both school and community library YA fiction collections."|
|Column by Jim Suber
July 25, 2002
|“While this story is written for pre-adolescents, probably anyone would enjoy it. I did. . . . The new book's plot unfolds on a number of levels, and Garretson didn't stint on research. The story line involves a 14-year-old girl, her parents, a younger brother, a friend or two, a bad guy, a bunch of people 100 years ago and a ghost. . . . The story takes some unexpected turns -- it moves along at a good pace and is written fairly tightly . . . Garretson traveled in the Flint Hills and studied a number of topics she would have to write about in order to make them factual. This authenticity or historical accuracy is one of the book's treats, and a quality that will hold it in stead for years to come. Her research encompassed and spanned a wide and long road from the way things were in the 1880s in Wabaunsee County and the Black Hills to the differences in speech and self-expression between then and now. Garretson has woven a really good book.” Read the entire column online|
|Review Glenn M. Bussett
May 12, 2002.
|“Don’t allow the fact that you aren’t female and fourteen to stop you from reading and enjoying this appealing tale that weaves its way along Mill Creek through the Flint Hills, just a whoop and a holler south of Manhattan.”|
|"Readers fond of stories featuring ghosts,
mysterious old houses, family tragedies, letters from the dea, hidden
treasure, and threatening strangers will nestle down happily with this
uncomplicated drama. . . . Try this eerie, plot-driven crowd pleaser on
Bellairs and Strickland fans."
|“This is an appealing book for those who like their mystery and horror on the light side, complete with a heroine who receives threats via e-mail and advice from her chatty best friend.”|
|"By intersecting two mysteries, one historical
and one contemporary, Garretson does a cunning job of mixing a
suspenseful story with elements of the supernatural. Annie is an
ghost who suffers from the typical teenage problems of loneliness and
insecurity yet has the spooky attributes that fascinate teen readers.
Cassie is resourceful and resilient, and she knows her way around
a computer. Despite different backgrounds, ghost and girl have
in common to form a solid bond, and the partnership is not at all
for teenage girls -- one complains about the other being jealous and
whereas the other is worried about her unhappy family. This
along with the action and suspense in the story, should keep even
readers buried in its pages.
|"I like Cassie and her attitude toward her
parents. Even though they don't believe her, she acts like a
teenager with her head on her shoulders, and not like a pouting child.
The ending is satisfying and all the loose ends are tired up
nicely. The ghost story is not scary, but the stalking man is.
Most junior high girls would like this book."
|Robin Kolterman, Kansas reader.||“It really was a very good mystery. Had me guessing to the end (it was hard not to jump ahead). And I love the way the book is set up. I think I spent the first half hour just looking at the book cover and the different ways you used the fonts and the iris. VERY nice work. Congratulations on a wonderful work of art.”|
|Beth Wells, Virginia reader||"I just finished reading The Secret of Whispering Springs. I really enjoyed it! What a great story! I wish I was still working at a library so I could recommend it to someone for summer reading. It is a real page turner, and I thought Garretson really brought the characters to life (including Annie!)."|
Director, Library Information Technology
Kansas State Library
|"The book is just terrific! You do bad guys real
It's a joy to see the Flint Hills used so effectively as a setting; the
characters are solid, a little surprising, and (though I'd be surprised
if this appealed to you) probably capable of returning for a second
adventure. And the plot is really satisfying! This, of
course, was my favorite type of book when growing up, so I actually
made an effort not to finish it
"Thanks for a great reading experience - my love of the visual
keeps telling me this could make a great movie - not a Disney
but something like Rob Reiner's version of *Stand by Me* - but it could
never equal the book."
|Review by Bob Spear
January - February 2003
of Whispering Springs is an excellent middle grade ghostly mystery
the Flint Hills country of Middle Eastern Kansas. The action centers
around a beautiful abandoned stone mansion and ranch out on the
which Cassie’s architect father has just purchased for back taxes.
is a rumor of a hidden treasure, which an evil stranger is threatening
Cassie into helping him find. The ghost of a young girl appears to only
Cassie to protect her.
The author has portrayed a setting phenomenon typical of rural
Kansas–abandoned homesteads out on the lonely prairie. The book flows
smoothly and incorporates conflict about the protagonist’s
believability. Young teens will really get into this story. We rated it
Murder and Mayhem Book Club
Read the full review
|"Cassie is a smart, feisty young heroine whose
adventures will have every reader urging their parents to move them in
to a haunted house. Garretson has added another likeable young
to her collection and given all of us another glimpse into life on the
Tina Morgan, Managing Editor, Fiction Factor
Read the full review
|"Jerri Garretson creates a wonderful story of
suspense and intrigue sure to fascinate any young reader. Her
characters are well developed and her writing is strong and vibrant.
"Having a daughter of my own in middle grades, I've been reading a lot of the books she's brought home from school and The Secret of Whispering Springs has been one of my favorites reads. It has surpassed many of the books published by major NY presses and is well worth ordering. I heartily recommend it for anyone looking for a reading gift for that special reader in their life. I recently passed it along to my 11 yr. old niece who absolutely loves it.)"
"The Secret of Whispering Springs is a * * * * * read!"
* * * * * = Un-put-downable, excellent reading!
* * * * = Good value, interesting reading.
* * * = Had potential, but could have been better.
* * = Slow, difficult to read, could have been improved.
* = Imminently forgettable.
Youth Services Manager,
Manhattan Public Library,
Included in her library column in the Manhattan Mercury on September 26, 2004.
"October Brings a Month of Mysteries to the Library"
|"If you're looking for a story
that will give you some October goose bumps, Jerri Garretson, a local
writer and former children's library manager, contributes a chilling
mystery in the vein of the traditional ghost story. The Secret of Whispering Springs,
published in 2002, stirs up the perfect ingredients for a
suspense-filled page-turner -- a haunted mansion, an ominous ghost, and
unresolved murder, old letters, prowling strangers, and even hidden
"When 14-year-old Cassie visits the old stone mansion where her family will soon be living, a strange coldness overcomes her and a voice whispers in her ear. Is Annie, the ghost of the teenager who lived here before her, trying to help her or scare her away? A trip to an abandoned graveyard confirms Cassie's fears and sets her on the trail to solve Annie's mystery. Watch out-- this ghost resides in the Flint Hills of Kansas! Readers who enjoyed Cynthia DeFelice's The Ghost of Fossil Glen and its sequels will be captivated by Whispering Springs."
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Last Updated April 20, 2011