Eight Keys Summary & Study Guide

Suzanne LaFleur
This Study Guide consists of approximately 41 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Eight Keys.
This section contains 612 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Eight Keys Summary & Study Guide Description

Eight Keys Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur.

“Eight Keys” is a children’s novel by Suzanne LaFleur that follows the struggles of Elise Bertrand as she begins sixth grade, deals with a bully named Amanda, and does her best to make new friends while keeping old friends. When the novel begins, Elise lives with her Aunt Bessie and her Uncle Hugh, because her own parents have long been dead. Elise is eleven and just finishing up summer vacation. She and her best friend, Franklin, spend hours playing in the fields and woods of their farms. While playing Knights, Elise falls and cuts up her legs. She worries how she will look and how she will fit in at school the next day as a result.

When school begins, Elise is immediately targeted by her lockermate, Amanda, who is pretty, dresses stylishly, and is also very mean. Amanda makes fun of Elise for her legs and for playing pretend with Franklin. Franklin doesn’t care that Amanda - or anyone else - makes fun of him, but for Elise, this is troubling and painful. She slowly begins to put distance between herself and Franklin, telling him things like they are too old to play pretend anymore. Elise also struggles with school itself, for middle-school kids have greater responsibilities than elementary school kids. In particular, Elise struggles to keep up with her homework and falls far behind. Things are only complicated when Aunt Annie and her baby, Ava, move into Uncle Hugh and Aunt Bessie’s house.

Elise’s Uncle Hugh and Aunt Bessie worry about Elise, because they know something is wrong. At first, Elise is very hesitant to say anything, because she is embarrassed and doesn’t think her family will understand. At school, Elise begins to befriend a girl named Caroline, who turns out to be the longtime best friend of Amanda. Caroline explains that she doesn’t know why Amanda is being so mean, because she never was that way before. Elise’s twelfth birthday then rolls around. Uncle Hugh reminds Elise that as she gets older, with each year her responsibilities will be increasing. He encourages her to keep up with her homework, for example.

Each year at her birthday, Elise receives a letter from her dead father, having been written when he was dying of cancer nine years before. Elise is devastated to learn her twelfth birthday letter will be her last letter. In the letter, however, Elise’s father explains that she will soon come into possession of a key to another surprise. As it turns out, Elise will be given eight keys over the next few months. Each key will unlock a door on the off-limits second floor of the barn above Uncle Hugh’s workshop.

Working together with Franklin and Caroline, Elise begins opening each room to discover important things about herself, her life, and her father’s hopes for her life. For example, one room is full of photographs of Elise and her family, with a note urging her to get to know her family and to appreciate them. Another room is full of written questions, representing all the questions in life. Another room is empty, symbolic of Elise’s life and all that she will fill her life with. This gift helps Elise to better appreciate, and finally open up to her family about the troubles at school; it allows her to heal her strained friendship with Franklin; it also allows her to be able to handle bullying at school because Elise is now a stronger, more confident person. As the novel ends, Elise begins to fill her own empty room with things important to her.

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This section contains 612 words
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Buy the Eight Keys Study Guide
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