The Hellandback Kids

Be Careful What You Wish For

Children - Preteen
304 Pages
Reviewed on 08/13/2011
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I live in San Antonio, Texas with my husband and two grown sons. Our eldest son graduated from MIT in Cambridge (Jon), and our youngest (Chris) is a Senior at TCU Fort Worth, fall of 2012.

I'm a Registered Nurse by education, but a writer by passion. I started writing for the genre: Fiction/Romance/Historical and then made a huge jump, from the advice of my twin sister, and ended up with the genre I love writing for MG/YA (middle grade/young adult).

I wish I'd have read more as a child, but with five children in the family all under five my mother had her hands full. Back then we didn't have internet or ebooks or even a public library that was close.

A person once told me that you actually have to see a word over a hundred times to put it to memory. Students who read the most will do the best on their SAT scores, but also don't forget your latin.

I love writing for the MG/YA. They're not bogged down with lifes unending daily problems, and they still have a fantasy or two within their hearts and minds.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

After realizing a Bundlebob was in Chris’ closet, the Hellandback parents decided it was time to send their 4 children to Scotland for the summer; they would be staying with their 83 year old great-grandmother in a large building that used to be a hospital. The kids were dreading the trip that seemed to offer only boredom. Unbeknownst to them it would be anything but dull for the house had a mystical quality. During their visit each of the Hellandback children were transported to a different realm where they learned a life lesson centering on their greatest weakness and strength. They quickly learned they had to take their scenario seriously. Chris ended up in the land of the Bundlebobs and had several interesting conversations with his great grandfather. Brittany was transported to the 14th century where the Black Plague was at its worse, Trisha was transported in the 18th century where she was about to be married and Jon’s scenario placed him in a corporate jungle complete with backstabbers and sharks, it was each man for himself.

The Hellandback Kids: Be Careful What You Wish For is a great read. Laura L Helland has combined just the right amount of action, adventure, humor, paranormal characters and fantasy to keep readers not only interested but eager to continue reading. The author developed the characters personalities in the first few chapters allowing the reader to understand the importance of the scenario the character faces. Helland has included plenty twists and turns. The author has cleverly included ghosts, vampires, and some very original creatures that exist only in the mind of the author. There are several life lessons to be learned from this tale. This book is based on real people, the author’s children. I’d be remiss if I did not mention the marvelous cover; it fits in well with the plot and just begs to be read. Even the title of this book is well done and humorous. I hope the author is planning series of Hellandback books and I would love to see this tale on the silver screen. Well done MS Helland.

Karen P.

In the Hellandback Kids: Be Careful What You Wish For, author L.L. Helland combines features of A Christmas Carol with Alice in Wonderland. This makes for a delightful debut novel for preteens. The four Hellandback children each have issues to solve and their parents believe the children will best learn to cope with their problems by a visit to Scotland where their eccentric great-grandmother lives in a former hospital. The oldest child Jon is obsessed with a career which will make him money. The older girl Teresa feels that the meaning to life will be found in finding the right man. Young Brittany has her sites on a science career while her younger brother Chris is diagnosed with ADHD and that brings its own set of problems. He is afraid of a neighbornood dog, loves the cold and is an impulsive child who sees humor in everything in life.

The minute the children arrive at their great-grandmother's home, they are subjected to their own worst nightmares. Each has his and her own adventure that places the child in a situation in which they must live through what they have said they want and then, deal with the consequences of that decision.

Helland has done a wonderful job of defining the preteen issues of children and then, helping the children to find the courage to deal with their own fears and dreams. The book is a great read for both boys and girls and it will surely keep children guessing about their own potential fantasy journeys long after the last page is turned.

Alice D.

The subtitle of "The Hellenback Kids" tells it all. "Be careful what you wish for" is just what happens to the four youthful Helleback siblings. The youngest,eleven year old Chris, sees something in his closet and begins sleeping with a chair propped up against the closet door as he sleeps with his baseball bat for protection. Older sister Trisha finds the basement crawling with worms and their father, now a Boston attorney, decides that it is time for his four children to spend their summer vacation with their Great-Grandmother in Scotland. And Granmama is ready for her darlings, putting each one in their own special bedroom in her home which was once a hospital. Chris is to sleep in what was once an operating room; Trisha is to sleep in a casket in a church located within Granmama's home; Brittany is to sleep in an isolation ward; and Jon, the eldest Hellenback, is to sleep in an office on a Murphy bed that falls out of the wall. What on earth is going on? Can Granmama really help her four great-grandchildren learn all about themselves in this rather strange way?

"The Hellenback Kids" is first-rate fantasy as Jon, Trisha, Brittany and Chris Hellenback get thrown in the middle of their youthful ideas of what futures they want to pursue. Their Great-Grandmother does keep watch over them as they go through rather harrowing experiences. The plotline winds its way to book's conclusion as the four Hallenbecks deal with the black death and bubonic plague, back-stabbing associates, a psycho for a future husband, and dreadful freezing experiences while learning to show concern for each other. Good characters, good plot, good writing and editing, one cannot ask for more!

Sylvia H.

How many times in our lives have we perhaps have heard the old expression “be careful what you wish for”? In author L.L. Helland’s part fantasy and part adventure children’s book The Hellandback Kids Be Careful What You Wish For, the four Hellandback children learn just how true and prophetic that turns out to be for them. The Hellandback children discover that that each must be careful what they wish for when they are sent to visit their great-great grandmother’s home in Scotland for a week during their summer vacation, and leave behind the comforts of their home in Boston. They are and much to the chagrin of the youngest Hellandback named Chris, spending time with his very eccentric great-great grandmother in an evenly more eccentric old house is just not his idea of fun. The older Hellandback siblings named Jon, Trisha and Brittney are looking forward to the time away and neither of them has any idea what awaits them on their “adventure”. Each young Hellandback has to endure some almost life threatening lesson/adventure that is played out in a controlled environment that is manipulated through magic. The Hellandback children’s great-great grandmother and her deceased husband who is a ghost, becomes the children‘s guide and mentor on their prospective magical journeys.

I had a lot of fun, and felt as if I were going on an adventure of my own while reading The Hellandback Kids Be Careful What You Wish For by author L.L.Helland. I felt as though I was right there besides each of the Hellandback’s and I was just waiting to see what was in store for each of them. Through L.L Helland’s magical fantasy tale, each of the Hellandback characters has to endure arduous tasks while having to learn a valuable and viable life long lesson. With this, we find out as well as the Hollenbeck children that even as children we just may “need to be careful what we wish for. “ And, when making some of our life choices, no matter how young we may be, we sometimes discover that what we thought we wanted wasn’t really what we wanted at all. I liked how the author set forth to tailor each life learning adventure of the children with the exact precision, the need and the personality of each of the children. I think that this book will engage any older child that has a sense of adventure, as well as the child who loves to escape into the magical fantasy world of the unknown.