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 Catherine Doyle
Cover Illustration by Alessia Trunfio
Published by Bloomsbury Kids

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

Neither of them noticed the yellow house disappearing from view as they wound their way deeper into the countryside, through long grass and heather and tufty fields full of wandering sheep.

This book in three words:


The Lost Girl King is a truly spellbinding adventure that swept me into the mythical land of youth and into an action-packed, unforgettable quest brimming with daring, courage and wit.

Amy and her older brother Liam have been sent to spend part of their summer holidays with their Gran in an isolated yellow house in Connemara surrounded by mountains.  They adore their Gran who surrounds herself with books of Irish myths and legends; in fact, she has written a book about the Celtic Otherworld, Tír na nÓg.  Amy is curious about the existence of this mythical world, but Liam, who has a love of science and reading, is convinced it only exists in the imagination.

Keen to seek adventure and avoid boredom, Amy soon cajoles her brother into exploring the area when she sees a white hawk and follows it through an unusual waterfall.  Liam, panicked that his sister has disappeared, overcomes his fear and goes after her …

Amy is convinced that stepping through the waterfall has taken them to Tír na nÓg, the land of eternal youth.  She climbs a huge tree and makes a dangerous discovery:  the sun is tied with a chain, unable to set and frozen in time.  Before the siblings can decide their next steps, Liam is taken by the Dullahan, a group of horrific, headless horsemen commanded by the sorcerer ruler, Tarlock.

And so begins an action-packed, exciting adventure as Amy and Liam find themselves caught up in a heart-pounding quest to free the land of Tír na nÓg and its inhabitants.  Will they be able to defeat the sorcerer, Tarlock?  Will they be able to save their new friends and return home before they are trapped forever beyond the waterfall? 

Amy gathers a band of friends who help her on her journey and what a group of friends they are:  Jonah and Conan, the pooka squirrel, from the Greencloaks; and, Oscar de Barra, leader of the Fianna – chosen protectors of the people of Tír na nÓg.  These friendships don’t get off to the best start, but it was so heart-warming to watch them grow. 

Oh my goodness, I was absolutely enthralled as the brilliance and magic of this story was revealed in tantalising, perfectly balanced dual narrative.  I loved following Amy on her quest to rescue Liam, and Liam on his mission to find out more about the curse and the lost girl king who rules in name only over Silverstone Castle.  I loved that each was determined to save the other, and be reunited with their Gran.  The twists and turns, the heart-racing action, the building tension as heroes and villains come closer and closer, and the character interactions made me gasp out loud, shudder, smile, and some parts brought tears.

I absolutely adored both Amy and Liam who have such a strong, authentic sibling bond.  What a fearless, determined and courageous heroine Amy is!  She is not prepared to sit back and let others do the rescuing, and is wonderfully capable of standing up to others to follow the course of her heart, using her quick wits to bring the heroes of Tír na nÓg together to fight for their freedom from a tyrant.  Liam is braver than he thinks and shows incredible fortitude and resilience as he discovers more about the curse affecting Tír na nÓg and fights to be reunited with his sister.

I grew up on a farm with a fairy tree which still stands alone in the middle of one our fields, and which my dad refused to have cut down for fear of the fairies!  Oh, the number of times growing up, I wandered to that tree and, from a distance, imagined travelling to the land of the fey, but I was never quite brave enough to get too close because I believed in its magic!  I think that tree and those stories are the reason I love portal stories and Celtic folklore, so this stunning book was always going to sing to my heart, and bring so much joy to me as a reader.

This is a magical, joyous and exciting adventure brimming with family and friendship, with danger, delight and hope … an absolute must-read!

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

One thought on “MG Takes on Thursday

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