The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carmen, is the first book in the Land of Elyon series. It begins with Alexa and her father, the mayor of Lathbury, heading to Bridewell for their annual summer trip. Alexa loves spending time in Bridewell, exploring the old prison where all of the important town business now takes place. She has never seen the other side of the great walls that surround the Land of Elyon and longs to explore the unknown over the bricks and mortar. When the founder of Elyon and very close friend of Alexa's dies unexpectedly, Alexa finds herself holding a key that could unlock a way to get on the other side of the wall and into the dangers of the hills. When she learns that she has the ability to help save Bridewell, using her new ability to talk to animals, as well as her key to get through the wall, Alexa knows that she must face the dangers of unknown in order to save all she knows.
As I said before, this book is somewhat similar to a lot of other fantasy/adventure novels that I've read. However, it had many of it's own quirks and original aspects that made it enjoyable to read and allow me to get involved enough to want to know what happens in the next book!