Book Review: The Books of Elsewhere #1: The Shadows by Jacqueline West (4.5/5)

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The Books of Elsewhere is absolutely amazing. I’m afraid I have to compare it to Harry Potter. It’s just as brilliant as Harry Potter, only with more of an appeal towards the middle grade audience. Jacqueline West has infused her words with wry humor, chock-full-of-personality characters (especially the talking cats), a suspenseful plot, imagination and strong underlying messages.

Here’s the premise: 11-year-old Olive is the only child of two mathematicians. Thing is, she’s not good at math at all! Instead, she has something of a wild imagination. When her family moves into an abandoned house on Linden street, she’s the only one who senses something strange and spooky. The paintings, the cats, the rumors. But Olive only finds out how strange and spooky when she discovers the secret – the paintings are portals to a place called Elsewhere. And someone in the house wants to get rid of her family….

From the first line of The Books of Elsewhere, I knew I’d love this book. West has a very original writing style that’s both down-to-earth and amusing. But that’s not all – there’s a wonderful plot and very real characters. I imagine elementary school kids, middle school kids and anyone older will greatly enjoy The Books of Elsewhere. Speaking of which, my nine-year-old brother just ran off with my copy of the book…

***copy provided by Creative Kids Magazine

Read more of my reviews here on my blog: https://rememberingwonderland.wordpress.com

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Chapter Review: Unhinged — Chapter Sampler By A.G. Howard

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Unhinged, the sequel to Howard’s first novel Splintered, is coming out in January 2014. Splintered is a dark retelling of Alice in Wonderland. I previously got an advance copy of Splintered to review for Creative Kids — and I liked it. Didn’t quite make my favorite’s shelf for various reasons…writing style, themes, plot distribution, the existence of a love triangle…but still, nice YA fare.

Unhinged’s 1st chapter starts off with Alyssa being taken into the netherworld (where she goes when she’s dreaming or unconscious, I believe) by Morpheus. Morpheus…how do I explain Morpheus? He’s an awesome character…possibly one of the best. I usually hate the dark mysterious love interest, but Howard pulls it off really well for some reason…. Morpheus is just a master character. And he IS the caterpillar. The whole scheme is a macabre, delightfully terrifying Wonderland! I would never miss that.

I enjoyed the first chapter and will definitely be on the lookout for Unhinged once it comes out.

***e-sampler provided by Netgalley