Hyacinth and the Secrets Beneath – written by Jacob Sager Weinstein

    Hyacinth and the Secrets Beneath – written by Jacob Sager Weinstein, Random House Children’s Books, 9780399553172, 2017

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Genre:  Fantasy

What did you like about the bookWhen our hero Hyacinth accidentally unleashes an ancient and powerful force,she discovers history is really just a cover story for enchanted rivers and magical politics.  The journey to retrieve an ornery drop of magic water becomes an adventure involving monsters and underground sewer systems all while figuring out who to trust and what to believe.

This adventure is fast-paced and fun to read.  Hyacinth keeps a level head while running from danger and is a refreshing character in her balance of strength and wit.  The writing keeps everything light and humorous with varying levels of jokes (from potty humor to puns).  Young readers will be treated to an important lesson as they learn more about Hyacinth’s friends and enemies as well as the history of magic, learning that good and evil may not always be black and white.

While real history seems to take a backseat to Hyacinth’s story, the author employed plenty of research from London’s past, particularly in regards to architecture, allowing readers to glean some facts from an afternoon’s romp through the streets of this old city.

Anything you didn’t like about it? While entertaining, this book does not offer much in the way of memorable characters.  The plot itself is wonderfully intricate but poorly executed as new ideas seem to be tossed out with every other chapter without time to develop.  Additionally, Hyacinth develops a crush mid-way through the book that is never explored and is based primarily on looks.

To whom would you recommend this bookThis book would be great for fans of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians with weird names and a fun story to match.

Who should buy this book? Juvenile library collections

Where would you shelve it ? Juvenile Fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Give this one a pass. Great for a lazy afternoon, but there are plenty of other silly books to devour.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA

Date of review: May 30, 2017

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