Friday, October 7, 2011
Read Scary: Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows by Jacqueline West
Not in this case though. I was drawn into the story from the first page, completely enthralled by the dark house and its mysteries and Olive, one of the most interesting middle grade characters I've met for quite some time. All the classic elements of the best middle grade fantasy adventures are there: mostly absent parents, a mysterious house, a strange kid who might just be a new friend, and of course a magical animal or two. West adds some truly frightening moments with Olive's expeditions into the world on the other side of the pictures, a terrifying villain, and sly humor with the talking cats, each of whom have their own personality.
Verdict: West's debut well deserves its Cybils award for middle grade fantasy and will charm and delight kids who like a deeply satisfying fantasy with plenty of adventure, a little humor, and some chilly touches. Highly recommended.
ISBN: 9780803734401; Published June 2010 by Dial; ARC received at ALA Midwinter 2010; Purchased for the library.