It's nearly back to school time -- at least here in the U.S.
In honor of the season, I'm featuring a week of great middle grade and tween books.
Whether you're a parent, a teacher, a librarian or just young at heart, I hope you enjoy these great titles! You'll have new chances to enter each day, and one lucky winner will walk away with all these books/ARCs!
August 9: Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
August 10: Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
August 11: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
August 13: In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz
August 16: The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin
August 17: The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver
by Lauren Oliver
To be published by HarperCollins Children's Books
on October 2, 2012
Source: Received from the publisher at BEA (Book Expo America). Read my review policy/disclosure here.
My summary: One morning at the breakfast table, Liza realizes there's something different about her brother Patrick. He's polite. He has good table manners. He's nothing like himself at all. Liza knows what's happened -- his soul has been stolen by the Spindlers. When Liza's parents dismiss her worries as fabrications, she knows that she's the only one who can save her brother.
My take: I have not yet read Liesl and Po, Lauren Oliver's prior middle grade novel, but I'm a huge fan of her YA writing. The Spindlers definitely has an Alice In Wonderland feel. Liza falls "Below" and is suddenly in a strange and imaginative world of mysterious creatures. She's guided by Mirabella the rat as she faces a series of challenges leading up to her final showdown with the Spindlers.
My favorite part of this book was the creatures. Troglods, nids, nocturni, hobgoblins -- all these are imaginatively conceived and described. There's plenty of action here, and the trials that Liza has to face will leave middle grade readers on the edge of their seats.
At times as I read, I wondered what this book would have been like if the characters were all creatures -- if Liza and Andrew had been mice, for instance, like in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. At times, I felt that the magical creatures were so vivid and engaging that they overpowered the human characters a little. But the idea of a sister bravely charging to the rescue of her brother is charming, and reminded me of one of my favorites, A Wrinkle in Time. The Spindlers is an inventive and gripping read that should please Lauren Oliver's middle grade and YA fans.
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I should be back online this evening. Finally!