MG Takes on Thursday

This is my weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books, now with a re-vamped banner!

How to take part:

  • 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.

This week, I’m celebrating …

Written by Pádraig Kenny
Illustrated by Edward Bettison
Published by MacMillan Children’s Books

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

Billy sat back and smiled at the screen, and just for a few moments he pretended the three of them were there together and that they were a family.

This book in three words:

FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP, SECRETS

I have now read and loved every middle-grade book written by Pádraig Kenny: Pog, Tin, The Monsters of Rookhaven and now The Shadows of Rookhaven.

The Shadows of Rookhaven returns to the sanctuary of Rookhaven years after the events that took place in The Monsters of Rookhaven.  The Rookhaven Family are hosting The Great Configuration, which is held every 100 years, and Family from other sanctuaries are gathering there, many being brought through portals created by Odd who can travel to different places and time periods through his portals.

A young boy, Billy Catchpole, arrives at Rookhaven, and is invited in by Mirabelle; however, he may not be there solely to celebrate the Great Configuration, and may well be intending harm on a member of the Family …

This is an absolutely stunning story told from different viewpoints in short atmospheric chapters:  tantalising and intriguing; heart-warming and heart-breaking; a story that oscillates with secrets and revelations, and a delicious darkness and tension that makes it an excruciating delight to read. 

Each of the characters is brilliantly portrayed, struggling with choices and emotions and hidden depths that become clear as the story unfolds.  They struggle with some of the biggest questions:  what lengths will we go to in order to save those we love?  What happens when we cannot accept the inevitably of death?  How can we forgive those who have betrayed us? 

I really enjoyed the relationship that develops between Mirabelle and Billy as they share a connection that leads to a slow building of friendship. Mirabelle is courageous, empathetic and kind and recognises pain, grief and anger in others whilst feeling these emotions herself.  Both are Misbegotten, half-monster and half-human, and face the prejudice of others for being different.

I also really loved finding out more about Piglet, one of the most fascinating characters in middle-grade fiction.  He is an ancient, feared, shape-shifting entity who is endlessly curious about others and can enter their minds with ease to experience their emotions and experiences. 

The black and white illustrations by Edward Bettison are stunning and cover both partial and full-page spreads. I love that the people portrayed are in shadow throughout, complementing the story perfectly.

I cannot recommend this dark, powerful, thought-provoking masterpiece enough:  utterly brilliant!

I’d love if anyone who wants to give this meme a go would comment in the comments box and include a link to your post so I can visit, comment and find some great middle-grade recommendations. If you do create a post and are on Twitter, and would like to share your post, please use the hashtag  #MGTakesOnThursday so I can find it, read it and share it!

4 thoughts on “MG Takes on Thursday

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