Published by Feiwel & Friends on January 3rd 2017
Source: Author Review Copy
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Romance, Young Adult
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Amy Lennox doesn't know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother's childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.
Amy's grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy's new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever cost.
While this book was a fun, magical ride, it also didn’t really impress me that much. The premise is super unique, as the main character Amy discovers that she can jump into the stories of books, and her family has a duty to preserve those stories. The setting is on a picturesque island, away from the advanced technology of the modern ages. Despite these fun additions, I couldn’t really connect to the characters (as quirky as they were) and I felt like the author could have made them more empathetic, and develop other aspects that she implemented, such as the family dynamics and romance. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable read while it lasted, yet not something I’d reread.
The very first thing we see is Amy Lennox traveling to an island in Scotland, where her mother ran away from at the age of 17. They’re essentially running away from Alexis’s break up with a man and Amy’s bullying incident at school, which never got resolved. We see that Amy is quite close to her mother, Alexis, who raised her by herself in Germany. However, I really feel like their mother-daughter relationship could have been explored more. As it is, I appreciate the addition of their kinship but didn’t quite have that empathy that arises while reading.
“To me, Alexis had always been one of the heroes. She was my role model, the mum who looked after me, the best friend who I could talk to about absolutely anything.”
This continues on towards other characters as well, such as the love interest Will and even Amy’s family, whom she meets at the island. All the intricacies of each relationship were set as a foundation, but never really got explored fully, which made my reading experience quite distant. Nevertheless, the mystery and magic plot is the main focus of the book and pretty satisfying to read.
When Amy discovers that she can jump through books, she also finds out that her family has the duty to protect those stories. However, someone’s been stealing ideas, such as Dorothy’s tornado in The Wizard of Oz. With the help of book characters such as Shere Khan from The Jungle Book and Werther from The Sorrows of Young Werther, Amy slowly unravels the mystery. I thought their friendship was really cute, and I would have loved to have seen more exploration on the different aspects of being a book jumper. You see all the book characters from different genres meeting up at a pub, or dying over and over again as part of their story. It sounds pretty fun! However, the stealing of ideas has altered some stories completely, which Amy tries to get to the bottom of.
“‘The core ingredients. The author’s initial ideas, without which a story simply breaks down. Somebody is sneaking around the book world stealing them.’”
There is another family living on the island where Amy goes to who also protects the books – but also whose family has a rivalry with hers. She ends up developing a relationship with Will, another book jumper whose actions have led to a Sherlock Holmes’s death. They work together to find out who’s trying to kill her, as well as stealing the ideas. While some aspects of the mystery were predictable, there were also delightful curveballs that the author threw at readers, causing some pretty nice twists and turns.
I really feel like I would have enjoyed this book if I were a couple years younger. It reads a lot more like an MG novel, but nonetheless I still thought it was a magical and fun ride. The resolution was pretty satisfying, although leaves some ideas rather open-ended. The relationship dynamics, stemming from friendship to romance to family, could have been expanded on in my opinion, but the central mystery, magic plot was definitely worth the read. Fantasy readers looking for a light, fun adventure should pick this one up!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Thank you MacMillan for the review copy!
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