After the wonderful introduction to the world of Jackaby (which was perfect for YA and adult readers), now William Ritter has begun a new middle grade series within that world of magic and monsters. After a goblin changeling is placed in a crib next to a human baby, no one can tell the two youngsters apart. For twelve years their mother raises them as human twins, but everyone in their small town knows that one of them is actually not her biological son. The boys are watched and whispered about, and they both wonder which of them is the changeling. When they receive a message to travel into the Wild Wood to save everyone they know, they set out to find the truth.
This story has wonderful fantasy elements with goblins, witches, shapeshifters, and even hinkypunks. There is also the dark Thing at the center of the Wild Wood, wrapped in shadows and plotting evil. But what makes the book such a wonderful read is the relationship between the boys and their mother and the discussions the boys have about what makes a monster. The tension of waiting to find out who is the changeling and what will happen to the family will keep readers turning the pages long past bedtime.
I had the pleasure of meeting the author at ALA Midwinter this year and picked up an ARC of the book. I can't wait for the second book of the series.