Twelve-year-old Alexa Daley has grown up surrounded by walls, but unlike most villagers she knows, Alexa wants to find a way out. As a protection from the unknown evils of the Dark Hills, a man named Warvold created a series of walled cities connected by walled roads. However, the walls meant to be a protection might have trapped danger inside. When Alexa begins searching for a way outside the wall, she finds adventure and truth that she never knew existed. She finds an enchanted stone that allows her to communicate with animals and gains greater understanding of the world outside. Through these experiences she learns that appearances can be deceiving and trust comes when you are able to see people as they really are.
Patrick Carman writes an exciting story for young readers with engaging characters, both human and animal. The mystery of Bridewell and surrounding cities is intriguing and continues on in four other books. The books are perfect for 9-10 year-old-readers and could be good for reading aloud.