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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Madison Kleigh and the Onyx Stone is a young adult novel by Jeffrey David Montanye. Twelve-year-old Madison Kleigh watches as her father Michael's ship launches him and the crew from NASA to Mars. A curious package arrives in the post many months later. Madison believes it to be another birthday gift. The black stone within puzzles her completely, but Madison soon learns of the incredible powers of the stone. One day, after fighting off Harold, a bully from her neighborhood, and dodging bullets from his BB gun, Madison finds her beloved cat, Razor, dead. In mourning, she draws Razor on her sketch pad, and the stone brings the drawing to life. Madison's life-like illustrations help her escape many near-misses until bully Harold manages to steal the stone. His decision to figure out how the stone works inside his home - filled with realistically-styled dragons (his father's passion) - proves quite deadly, costing people their lives. But the one life that matters to Madison the most is that of her father, so far from home. When his sabotaged rocket malfunctions due to a very poor landing on Mars, Madison learns what his real mission so far from home had been and also that she is her father's only hope to survive.
There is so much action, adventure, mystery, and one of the most well-thought-out storylines I have ever read! Jeffrey David Montanye's imagination is one that so many authors dream of having (myself included), and I now long to read other books in the Madison Kleigh series. The bullying mentioned throughout was written quite realistically and triggered some unhappy memories. I could not help but feel sorry for Harold at one point, and the revelations about him made a lot of sense toward the end of the story. It is always wonderful to read such well-written books for younger audiences, although I believe that one can never be too old for such brilliance plucked from the minds of literary geniuses. Madison Kleigh and the Onyx Stone will now take pride of place on top of my bookshelf of excellence, and I highly recommend it to readers aged ten years and over so they can feel the magic for themselves. Whether in a school, hospital, or town center, libraries will benefit from higher readership simply by having Madison Kleigh's adventures on their bookshelves.