Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Reading 2016 The Changelings


Izzy is a typical older sister. It always seems that if she really likes something or wants to do something on her own, then her little sister manages to ruin it. Her parents aren't much help either since they have just moved the whole family to the most boring place on Earth, and she even has to share her bedroom with Henrietta, "Hen." But on a trip to the grocery store, Izzy learns that their neighbor could be a witch. Finally there is something to do - she can spy on Miss Marian and try to catch her doing something witchy. All she sees is a lot of gardening, and some funny stacks of stones around the yard. Just when she thinks that maybe Marian isn't a witch and Everton really is the most boring town ever, something happens - Hen disappears in the woods and there is mysterious music. What's a big sister to do, but join forces with the wacky neighbor and mount a rescue mission?

Izzy discovers there was a reason her grandmother never wanted the family to come visit the house in Everton - it is on the border between the human world and that of faeries. Marian takes her to the other side of the border, into the Everwood, in search of Hen. Izzy meets all sorts of creatures she has only heard of in her books of fairy tales. There are changelings, brownies, goblins, trolls and other fantastical beings. Parts of the realm seem magical in the best way, but other things like Queen Morvanna and her hunting beasts, the Unglers are downright terrifying. What can a small girl and a few changelings hiding in the woods do against the evil queen who has Izzy's sister? As usual in fairy stories, appearances can be deceiving and help can come from unexpected places.

Readers who enjoy fairy stories and tales of trips to other realms or dimensions will love this journey through the faerie world. Izzy is very believable as the exasperated older sibling, and Hen makes the perfect impetuous younger sister whom she can't help but forgive every time she messes things up. The familiar characters from fairy tales such as brownies and even the Pied Piper are given a make-over and fresh appeal. The action moves along quickly with triumphs and disasters keeping everyone (including the reader), on their toes until the very end.

Highly recommended for middle grades and up.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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