Set in the late 1800s in England, the story follows Tessa Grey, a young American girl who has arrived in London, as she discovers the many secrets of the Shadow World which Clare has created with exquisite detail and imagery. Along the way, Tessa discovers Downworld and the supernatural creatures who belong to it including vampires, warlocks and other paranormal beings.
The narrative presents a deftly crafted tale relating the journey of a young woman who manages to face, accept and overcome what many would believe to be an impossible childhood. Periods of normalcy are interspersed with periods that are anything but normal, receiving and unexpectedly having pets given away, or left behind, left on her own way too often by both her Mother and Wolf cause Fiona to do much of the raising of herself.
The layout of the book uses an alternating overlap method of depicting each brother’s experiences and the reader easily acclimatises to this pattern. Before long you are drawn right into the surroundings and share in the understandings of three males who are set adrift without a matriarch to steer their lives.
Discourse between the characters is credible, believable and plausible as the girls wrangle among themselves, tussle with Aunt Tallulah and seemingly snag setups, circumstances and explanations out of the air to describe what is happening. Heusler’s capability for portrayal, scene setting and elucidation serves her well, The reader is drawn right into settings: we see the frightening, feel the cold, and taste the bitterness. The storyline is well plotted, moves along from first pages to final paragraphs without problem, and culminates with a satisfying conclusion.
Morrigan is an empathetic character with just the right combination of pluck and humility, and her increasing awareness of the importance of friendship, and of her growing sense of self-discovery is a subplot that drives the narrative forward, along with the competition trials and Morrigan’s desperation to find her gift.
Colucci weaves a delicate narrative sure to intrigue readers who may want to know more of their own personal story including attributes, ethnicity, and heritage. The book provides a strong moral around our common humanity, whatever our ethnicity, cultural differences, or where in the world we may live.
Anderson has created a high interest, action packed, easily read, adventure filled chapter book certain to please middle grade readers. While my career spanning nearly 4 decades was spent in the K 1 arena, Secret of Abbott’s Cave is a book I used during the two years I taught Osage County fourth grade in Osage County. It was a book with good appeal for both girls and boys.
Befiddled is a forceful read. de Alcantara offers teens who are tormented by feelings of failure or inadequacy a glimpse into the life of another youngster who harbors many of the same worries. Becky worries she will lose remembrance of her deceased father, that she just does not fit in anywhere, and that she is destined to nothing more than failure, blunders and unhappiness.
Walking Through Walls is just right for around 8-12 year olds (or to read to younger children), providing an engaging, engrossing story with a strong plot, lots of atmosphere, and a positive message that is perfect for young readers, without being preachy. The story is set in the sixteenth century, and is based on an ancient Chinese story “Taoist Master and the Lao Mountain,” also an animated film Lao Mountain Taoist. Cioffi fills the story with details to evoke the setting and timeframe, from the mountains in the distance, lemon lilies, yellow cakes with red berries and tea, and the scents and sounds of rural life.
It would be a rare reader that didn’t feel an affinity for the protagonist in Alice Pung’s charming coming-of-age story, Laurinda. The is something universal about fifteen year old Lucy Lam’s dislocation as she tries to navigate the clique-iness, the odd social mores, and the subtle bullying that takes place at Laurinda, a prestigious private school to which Lucy has received the first equity scholarship.