My son and I listened to this audio book while commuting together to work and child care together this summer.
The blurb on the back describes it as aMy son and I listened to this audio book while commuting together to work and child care together this summer.
The blurb on the back describes it as a cross between "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Clue."
How could we resist a book with a description like that!? How could anyone?
Very fun, very well-plotted children's mystery.
The characters are all archetypes that Victorian mystery lovers can't resist: the poor, yet bright, narrator, the spoiled rich children, the crazy countess, the suspicious butler, the angry cook, the mostly awful parents, and more.
There are secret passages, secret letters, missing jewels, things that go bump in the night, and plenty of twists and turns.
I'll admit that I figured out most of it before the end, and my son even figured out a bit of it, but neither of us minded because the story was intriguing, the details were perfect, and there was quite a bit of dry, British humor as well.
If you enjoy a good mystery, and want a story for your child who loves mysteries too, but isn't ready for Agatha Christie, then this should do the trick.
My son gave it possibly the highest praise possible for an almost 7 year-old. As soon as we finished, he declared that the author HAD to write a second book!
Maybe she will, if we're lucky.
*Content note: There is a death, there is a dead body, and there are repeated declarations of plans to murder, so if your child isn't ready for that, don't try this title yet. While more silly than gruesome, it's still death. There are also some uses of the British euphemism "bloody," which goes right over my little guy's head without a mention, but may bother others....more
Loved it. Completely absorbing, unique story, characters that I cared about and who felt alive and real, plus a great setting with loads of folklore aLoved it. Completely absorbing, unique story, characters that I cared about and who felt alive and real, plus a great setting with loads of folklore and mythology thrown in.
I actually dragged out reading the last fifty pages of this book over several days because I didn't want it to end.
Quick summary: A golem, a mythical Jewish creature, and a jinni, a mythical Arabic creature, meet in nineteenth century New York City and discover their souls.
As I said before, great plot, great characters, great setting . . . a unique story that does exactly what story is supposed to do - draw you in completely and thoroughly, yet also reflect back some piece of truth about what it means to live.
This story did that for me.
This is Wecker's first novel, but I hope she writes more!...more
An autobiographical graphic novel about surviving middle school and early high school with your sanity and pride in tact.
Raina knocks her two front teAn autobiographical graphic novel about surviving middle school and early high school with your sanity and pride in tact.
Raina knocks her two front teeth out during the end of her sixth grade year, leading to four years of dental surgery, orthodontia, pain, and embarrassment.
Her story is funny, and touching, and reminded me of growing up in the late 80s to early 90s, so there was a touch of nostalgia there too for me.
Plus, I really appreciated the message of this book for girls - be yourself. If you don't want to do something, say no. It's OK. If someone isn't really your friend and is just using you as their verbal punching bag, leave them and find friends who like you for you and are kind to you. Spend your time pursuing what you love to do - people will be drawn to you being happy, being yourself, and smiling.
It's a wonderful, positive message. Yes, it's direct and thumps you over the head with it, but along the way, you also get a funny story from someone who survived and thrived during the rocky years of adolescence.
Plus, there's absolutely nothing in this book that you couldn't hand to a fifth or sixth grader - no violence, no language, no sexual situations (Raina does have a crush, and there is a game of spin the bottle, but Raina refuses to play for some very smart reasons. Go her!).
It really was an honest, positive, feel-good, breath of fresh air for middle-schoolers.
Two thumbs up, and I look forward to reading her other books....more
Mark Bramhall, the reader of the audiobooks for this trilogy, is excellent. I could probably listen to him read just about anything.
This is the finalMark Bramhall, the reader of the audiobooks for this trilogy, is excellent. I could probably listen to him read just about anything.
This is the final book in the trilogy, and it is essential that you’ve read the previous two in order for this one to make any sense at all. Plus, if you’ve read the previous two books, you’ll likely already know whether or not you’ll enjoy this one, as Grossman’s works seem to be “love it or hate it” titles.
I happen to be on the “love it” side – not sure why exactly. Love the setting with all of its Narnia, Hogwarts, and Middle Earth references, love the real-life conflicts and sacrifices and power plays that Grossman sets up, and I even love the self-centered characters – Quentin, Julia, Elliot, Janet, and Alice.
This time around, we get to see all of the characters grow into adults, with all of the joys and compromises that entails. There is also the return of some favorite characters from the past and a wrap-up that is satisfying, but not overly sentimental – much like the entire series.
I may even read all of these books again sometime, and that’s saying something....more
It's probably more of a 4 star book, but I really, really liked this, and I'm feeling generous, and I'd like it if this excellent adventure tale receiIt's probably more of a 4 star book, but I really, really liked this, and I'm feeling generous, and I'd like it if this excellent adventure tale received some attention. I know that I'll be talking it up at the library.
I'm not sure yet if I enjoyed it so much because it was genuinely something special or if it's just because I was in the mood for something different and this was the right book at the right time.
In any case, this is the best of the magic boarding school bonanza of books that have hit the market in the wake of Harry Potter that I have had the chance to read.
The basic premise: Every four years in the fairy-tale obsessed village of Gavaldon, two children are stolen by the Story Master to go to the School of Good and Evil. One is evil. One is good. Both may end up in a fairy tale someday if they graduate.
This year, gorgeous Sophie is expected to be taken for the School for Good and ugly Agatha, who lives at the town graveyard, is expected to be taken for the School for Evil.
The girls are taken, but they end up in the wrong schools. Or do they?
The teachers, classes, tests, and challenges aren't as well-thought out as in Harry Potter and sometimes feel a bit tossed together - but what a great conflict!
Is Sophie really evil? Is Agatha really going to change into a vapid, hide-behind-a-prince princess? If they do make it to a fairy tale, will one of them really have to die in order for the other to live?
I was entirely invested in the plot, and the climax in this first book was very well done with a few unexpected twists thrown in for good measure.
Great premise, great main characters with complex motives (Chainani makes sure that neither Sophie nor Agatha are so simple that good or evil completely define them), good supporting cast - I'm willing to invest more time. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. ...more
Will Henry and Warthrop face the truth of their relationship, their mortality, and themselves in this penultimate tale in the four book seriAh-mazing.
Will Henry and Warthrop face the truth of their relationship, their mortality, and themselves in this penultimate tale in the four book series. Who is the real monster?
Yancey really does a fine balancing act of writing as he simultaneously tells 3 different stories from 3 different time periods - yet winds them altogether for a climax that felt exactly right. It's the ending that we've been facing down since the beginning.
I need to buy this series. I will have to read it all again someday.
So well done, it allows me to forgive Yancey for the mundane and derivative "The 5th Wave."
I was sad when it was over, yet completely satisfied.
*occasional language, violence, some sexual references, dark theme...more