To join in, all you need to do is:
- Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
- Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence.
- Write three words to describe the book.
- Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.
The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L.D.Lapinski, cover art by designer Samuel Perrett and illustrator Natalie Smillie, published by Hachette
I know everyone else read this forever ago. It has sat in my TBR patiently being the next read then for one reason and another having to wait just one book longer for so long. But I’ve finally read it and loved it, so it seemed a good time to remind those of you who have read it of how ace it is and bring it to the attention of anyone who may have missed it!
I’ll be honest, this was one of those books I always intended to read and desperately wanted to like, but really wasn’t sure I would…well I needn’t have worried! I loved it.
The world building and magic system are incredibly imaginative and unique.
The characters are very likeable and feel fresh and a bit different while still being relatable and recognisable.
And the way the adventure twists, the pace increases, the tension grows and the plot, as they say, thickens is excellent.
Flick has just moved house. Before we go any further, I want to take a moment to say I was really impressed with the portrayal of Flick’s family. There was a depth and realism often missing in MG as parents are divided between doting, absent/disinterested or dead.
Her parents are absent in a lot of ways – they work early morning/late night shifts and she has a baby brother who of course requires a great deal of their time, but she is loved and cared for; they attend her parent’s evenings and plays, do things as a family and worry about her. It felt really refreshing to see real parents that kids will relate to.
But I digress… they’ve just moved house and Flick is exploring her new surroundings when she finds a very strange, old travel agency.
Inexplicably drawn to it, her yearning for adventure is about to be more than fulfilled as what she’s stumbled upon turns out to be a rather more magical travel agency than most.
With suitcases leading to different worlds, this begins as a hugely enjoyable exploration of some fantastic places. With bouncy floors, food fights, tree houses and a sweet shop that makes Wonka’s look dull these worlds are an absolute treat to visit.
Fans of Abi Elphinstone’s Unmapped Chronicles or Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor – you need this in your life. Every bit as wonderfully imaginative.
However, there is also a mystery to solve, a tentative friendship to form and a world(s) to save.
This does start slowly. But it really works. It picks up pace like a snowball down a hill, with more and more being revealed as we go. By the end, there’s vanishings, captures, escapes and injuries, and we’re left on tenterhooks with time of the essence, blind faith, hope and luck getting us through.
An inventive, exciting and wondrous adventure. I cannot wait for the next book!
My favourite quote from page 11:
“‘Don’t Lose Your Luggage,’ Jonathan snapped. ‘That’s Rule Number One…'”
This book in three words:
Magic. Travel. Adventure.