BY SEAN CLARK

[JABBIC is now on a monthly schedule. Look for the next one in January. Find previous installments here. And you can suggest covers we should use, or volunteer to write a blurb, by emailing us here.]

JABBIC is kind of like Balderdash with book covers. Based only on the cover at right, four of our contributors made up a one-paragraph premise for this week’s contestant, The Poison Tree, by Erin Kelly. Can you reverse-engineer their fabrications and pick out the book’s real plot? (The answer will be posted in the comments later today.)

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1.) When they were twelve, Jan and Max swore they would never tell. But secrets can’t last forever. Especially when your secret is a ghost that can kill. The story of a friendship that endures an unbearable secret, Erin Kelly’s The Poison Tree explores just how venomous seemingly inconsequential childhood decisions can be to our future selves.

2.) It is the sweltering summer of 1997, and Karen is a strait-laced, straight-A university student. When she meets an impossibly glamorous bohemian orphan who lives in a crumbling old mansion, she is soon drawn into that world–but something terrible is about to happen, and someone’s going to end up dead.

3.) The Poison Tree, a blend of Prophecy and Christian allegory, is a modern version of the Garden of Eden story that young readers can relate to. The story tells of the Jones family, an upright couple with two innocent children who are faced with temptation. They learn in a vision that the fruit of one of their apple trees will bring harm to their neighbors, but great rewards to their own family. The Jones family struggles to walk the path of righteousness and resist falling into the trap of materialism and greed. Erin Kelly is a messenger of faith to young Christians finding their place in the community of believers amidst the wordly seduction of sin.

4.) The fall is the most beautiful time of year in New England – crisp air, warm cider, and fresh pumpkin pie. For the Garlands it’s particularly special: it is when they tap the maple tree out back for sap for their small family-run syrup stand. But this season will turn out to be their autumn of discontent. When this year’s batch ends up causing deaths all over town, things get very sticky and the Garlands find themselves on the run. Was it sabotage or a plot by the Garlands themselves? In the end, The Poison Tree is anything but saccharine.

5.) Frank murdered his wife and buried her under the oak in their backyard. Soon the lawn is littered with dead squirrels and birds. Next his dog lay dead beneath the great tree’s shade. When he hears the tree calling him in the night, Frank must decide if a chainsaw can save him, or if his mind is already lost.

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