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I believe this was a series. I read it in the late 90's, but I imagine that it was published earlier than that. It's about a boy who travels to another world/worlds.

I remember him collecting crests of some kind that matched a symbol on his forearm (I think it was on his forearm). Each of the crest-like objects was made out of a different material (wood, glass, metal, etc.). I believe the antagonist was also searching for them.

He may have had a small knife with him for protection...maybe not.

The opening of one of the books has him by the sea heading toward a boat that belonged to a family member. He had a girl with him (not sure of the relation). There was also mention of some menacing polecats in the brush along the way.

That's really all I can remember. Let me know if this rings a bell! Thanks!

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This sounds a little like The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper.

The main character of the books is Will Stanton, who finds out he is the last of the Old Ones, powerful magicians. Book 2, The Dark is Rising, is about his quest to collect all six Signs of Power. These are circled crosses, representing different elements: wood, bronze, iron, water, fire, and stone. From memory, I think Will gets burned on the arm in the shape of the Signs.

I don't remember if The Dark is Rising begins with anyone heading to a boat owned by a family member or if there are any polecats. My books are all in storage so I can't check.

I highly recommend this series. I read it when I was maybe 11 and I've remembered it fondly ever since. I bought the omnibus edition a few years ago. It was a real pleasure re-reading it after so many years.

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  • Book 2, The Dark is Rising, was basically how I learned to like reading (didn't know it was part of a series at the time), and yeah, the signs (especially that list of what they're made of) really makes it seem close despite the other elements not matching...
    – Izkata
    Aug 5, 2014 at 22:51
  • Polecats are mentioned at some point as allies of the Dark, so this does seem more likely now
    – Izkata
    Aug 5, 2014 at 22:52
  • The last book, Silver On The Tree, starts with Will and his brother being menaced by mink.
    – sueelleker
    May 28, 2016 at 16:57

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