Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a starred review) 5
Genre: magical realism
What did you like about the book? The main character, Alice, is likable and sympathetic. Her brother needs a heart transplant, so while her mother is at the hospital with him, Alice has to stay with her father’s mother, Nell, whom she’s never met. Alongside Nell’s remote country house is an old wood which Nell plans to raze. But Alice is drawn to the wood, where she meets Flo, a mysterious girl who becomes her friend. Flo enlists Alice’s help to save the wood from destruction because it is where the fairies live. First, however, she has to convince practical Alice that fairies really exist. While most of the characters are prickly at first, they become more sympathetic as the story unfolds. The magic of the fairies fits in seamlessly with Alice’s troubles settling into a new school and coping with her brother’s worsening health. There are also letters from the waning days of World War I sprinkled throughout the modern-day story, and the connection between the two time periods soon becomes apparent. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read which should leave readers feeling satisfied in the end.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Readers may become frustrated by a few plot points which could be resolved much more easily if the characters just talked openly to each other, but overall the story and the characters are believable and intriguing.
To whom would you recommend this book? Read Alikes? Recommend to readers who like a bit of magic in their books. Also recommend A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd and Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan.
Who should buy this book? Middle schools and public libraries should find this title popular. Families with younger children might enjoy it as a read-aloud.
Where would you shelve it ? Middle-grade fiction or young adult, depending on the collection. Alice is 15 years old, but she comes across as a bit younger so I think this book will be most popular with middle schoolers.
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Not necessarily at the top, but perhaps in the middle.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA
Date of review: March 21, 2017