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The Secret of Four Notch

A middle grade novel

Danny loves his 1950’s life in Pomona, California. With lots of friends and summer adventures to look forward to, he can’t wait for school to end. But his plans are crushed when his family abruptly moves to a middle-of-nowhere town in Washington state. The change is too much for Danny. Not only has he lost his friends, he feels like the primitive place he’s moved to and even the weather are enemies. As he tries to adjust to his new life, he makes friends with Kip, the kid next door, who shows him around their surprising neighborhood. They have a troubling encounter with Mr. Wolf, who tells them about “Four Notch,” a secret place that plays tricks with time. Stubbornly resistant to change, Danny runs away and gets trapped in a long-ago time where each new experience informs his search for ways to cope when things change too fast. Watch The Secret of Four Notch book trailer.


Praise for The Secret of Four Notch

"'The Secret of Four Notch' by Tracy Sabin is more than just a kids' fantasy story. It's a tale of personal growth, learning to accept change, the effects development has on the environment, and much more. It is a page-turner and makes for an engrossing read as Tracy Sabin skillfully moves from one era to another, giving us an insight into life at the time. The characters are great, well-developed, and very likable, with clear, engaging dialog that flows well. This story also teaches kids about the struggles of growing up, how to deal with change, and how not to fly off the handle whenever something doesn't go your way. It's about navigating the minefield of life as you transition from child to adult and there are some pretty valuable lessons to be learned. This is an enjoyable story, and Tracy's writing style draws clear images in your mind, allowing you to feel part of the story. Highly recommended reading."

-Readers' Favorite Five Star Review
"Sabin keeps readers engaged throughout this novel with a steady pace and appealing action. [...] He alternates between past and present under the guise of a time portal, offering Danny's story in contemporary and historical settings. The finale satisfyingly brings the story together. The strongest element of Sabin's prose is its authenticity for the intended audience. Dialogue flows smoothly, adding to the plot points, and vivid imagery is sprinkled throughout to provoke deeper meaning. The use of a time portal is typical for this genre, but Sabin successfully melds two opposing cultures together through the eyes of his engaging and relatable characters."

-Publisher's Weekly BookLife Prize evaluation