Max is the son of two successful actors who are invited to start a theatrical troupe in India. On the day of their ship’s departure, Max plans to meetMax is the son of two successful actors who are invited to start a theatrical troupe in India. On the day of their ship’s departure, Max plans to meet his parents at the dock. When he gets there, he discovers that their ship, the Flower of Kashmir, does not exist, and his parents have disappeared.
Max and his grandmother set about trying to track down Max’s missing parents, and Max starts looking for a job, since he know his grandmother cannot afford to support him on her own.
Max stumbles upon a job when he reunites a mother with her lost child, and he begins getting requests from other people to find things that they have lost. His talent for disguising himself helps him to solve his cases, but he soon discovers that finding something that is lost can uncover all sorts of other problems.
Readalikes: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick and the Enola Holmes Mysteries by Nancy Springer, which are also historical stories about independent and inventive young people left to fend for themselves. ...more
Liesl has been locked in her attic room for over a year by her stepmother, who would not even let Liesl visit her dying father.
Po is a ghost. He appeLiesl has been locked in her attic room for over a year by her stepmother, who would not even let Liesl visit her dying father.
Po is a ghost. He appears in Liesl’s room (he’s not quite sure why), and she enlists his help to find her father on the Other Side and to help her escape so she can fulfill her father’s last wish.
Will is apprentice to an alchemist who has just created the most powerful magic in the world. He runs away to escape the alchemist’s fury after discovering that he has made a terrible mistake. His mistake will unexpectedly put Liesl in danger.
The runaways are pursued by the alchemist, his powerful client, and Liesl’s stepmother, who will stop at nothing to get back what is theirs.
Liesl and Po tells several people's stories, which all tangle together by the end of the book. The villains are truly terrible people, and Liesl and Will's circumstances are awful, but the focus is on their new friendships. Hopeful, sweet, and slightly sad.
Readalikes: - The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (another sweet fantasy with several characters whose stories come together) - The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (for the friendships with ghosts) ...more
Miss Penelope Lumley, fifteen years old and recently graduated from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, is nervous about obtaining her firsMiss Penelope Lumley, fifteen years old and recently graduated from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, is nervous about obtaining her first job as a governess. But after a whirlwind interview at Ashton Place (in which Lady Constance Ashton doesn’t ask Penelope about her credentials and refuses to tell her about the children), she is immediately hired.
Penelope soon finds out why when she follows a howling noise to the barn and finds three children. Literally raised by wolves, the children were discovered by Lord Frederick Ashton while he was out hunting.
Many governesses would be daunted by the task ahead of them, but Miss Penelope Lumley is intelligent and confident in her abilities – and besides, she has always loved animals. She quickly sets about the task of transforming them from children who bark, howl at the moon, and chase squirrels into children with enough table manners, socially useful phrases, and dancing skills to attend Lady Constance’s Christmas party.
A funny book with several mysteries left unsolved at the end.
Readalikes: - Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events and Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society (for the quirky humour and slightly off-kilter world) - Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes Mysteries (for the resourceful and intelligent heroine and sense of mystery)...more
There is far more focus on the ideas in this novel than the story. Readers who already agree with some of the ideas in the book (e.g., destiny) wouldThere is far more focus on the ideas in this novel than the story. Readers who already agree with some of the ideas in the book (e.g., destiny) would probably get more out of it. Reading it as more of a fantasy story, I didn't find it that inspiring. I did, however, enjoy the writing style and the description of the exotic landscapes....more