Title: Spellbound (The Books of Elsewhere No. 2)
Author: Jacqueline West
Pub info: Dial Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House, 2011; 304 pp
Genre: MG fantasy / paranormal (ages 9+)
What fun to discover a series that continues to get better with each book! Fans of fun mysteries where magical things happen will love Spellbound. If you haven't read Book 1, you won't be completely lost--the author does a good job of catching you up--but you might as well dive in from the beginning.
With no way into the house's magical paintings, and its three guardian cats reluctant to help, Olive's friend Morton is still trapped inside Elsewhere. So when Rutherford, the new oddball kid next door, mentions a grimoire - a spellbook - Olive feels a breathless tug of excitement. If she can find the McMartins' spellbook, maybe she can help Morton escape Elsewhere for good. Unless, that is, the book finds Olive first.My impressions:
The house isn't the only one keeping secrets anymore. Mystery, magic, corruption, and betrayal abound (plus just enough laughs to take the edge off). You'll never guess what happens next in this thrilling, chilling second volume in the critically acclaimed series.
I read The Shadows (Book 1 in the series) a couple of years ago, and I loved it at once--the writing is gorgeous, intelligent, and doesn't talk down to kids. I loved the character of Olive and her math-genius parents who are clueless about the goings-on in their creepy new (old) house. The sequel, Spellbound, is perhaps an even better book. The story is stronger and a little darker (though nothing a kid can't handle), and it shows a deeper side to Olive and her friends. The new characters are delightful, especially Rutherford, and now I've got to get the rest of the series. Jacqueline West has finished all the books, so you can own the complete set of five. This is a fantastic treat for kids who love magic.
Jacqueline's short fiction for adults and children has appeared in a variety of publications, and her poetry has received many honors, including two Pushcart nominations, a Rhysling Award nomination, and a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg prize. (Her poet's soul is obvious in her exquisite word choice, even in prose.) She lives amid the bluffs of Red Wing, Minnesota, with her husband and her dog, a Springer Spaniel mix named Brom Bones. The fifth and final book in the Books of Elsewhere series, Still Life (Dial), arrives in stores and online June 17.
An interesting interview with Jacqueline about the Books of Elsewhere series can be found here, at Literary Rambles. Learn more about Jacqueline's writing on her website and blog, and follow her here at her Facebook page.
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