The Explorers’ Gate
An E-book Exclusive
January 21, 2012
Kindle Price $3.99
Young Adult Novel
Nikki Van Wyck is not your typical twelve-year-old. For one thing, she lives with her dad in a building
adjacent to New York City’s Central Park. Nikki’s mom died two years ago and her father is having
difficulty learning to live again. He doesn’t care about much of anything anymore except drinking beer.
For a twelve-year-old girl, with her dad working as the resident superintendent of this building, she
doesn’t have much money for things that her peers find are important such as clothes and treats at the
Shake Shack. Fitting into the group just isn’t working for her.
One thing that Nikki knows is Central Park. She realizes that she is an expert in this one particular area
and knows the history as well as the stories around every aspect of the park. When she was little, her
mom gave her a necklace which resembled a puzzle piece from the map of Central Park and the advice
to learn all the she could about the park.
A billionaire, David Drake, is hosting a “Parks Smarts” competition regarding the trivia Central Park and
the winner will receive $10,000. Nikki is certain that she can win it.
She is surprised when she meets another contestant who has a necklace similar to hers. When they
compare their necklaces, the two pieces fit together. Garrett Vanderdonk informs Nikki that his
brother, Willem, has the third piece which completes the puzzle. Apparently, Garrett’s grandfather
knows about the necklaces and Nikki. He has mentioned that they might need to find Nikki for the
Crown Quest. Nikki has no clue about any of this.
Now Nikki is going to begin the real contest of her life and for the love of her park, Central Park.
New Yorker, Chris Grabenstein writes phenomenal young adult books. I thoroughly adored his series
featuring Zach Jennings with The Crossroads, The Hanging Hill, The Smoky Corridor, and The Black Heart
Crypt. His adult book series featuring John Ceepak are Mad Mouse, Whack-a-Mole, Hell Hole, Mind
Scrambler, and Rolling Thunder all involve a mystery with a classy bit of humor.
The Explorer’s Gate is fast-paced and intense. It is also kid and adult friendly. The story flies as Nikki
discovers more about the park and about herself. Although predictable, this book is a fun-journey into
the well-known Central Park.