MG Takes on Thursday

This is my weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books. I hope others will enjoy taking part in this too!

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 and Illustrated by Jamie Littler
Published by Puffin

Favourite Sentence/s from Page 11:

He could feel an overwhelming urge bubbling up inside him, something that had been tugging at his spirit for as long as he could remember. It was the desire to sing.

This book in three words:

QUEST, LEVIATHANS, BELONGING 

I read Frostheart back in November 2019, and can still remember what an utterly spell-binding, epic adventure it was. I have the second book in the series, Frostheart: Escape from Aurora on my ever-increasing, and never dwindling, TBR and really, really want to get to it soon. On a side note, I am beginning to feel ever so slightly panicked at the number of books I REALLY want to read that I have on my TBR, and the number I keep seeing that are being published that I absolutely MUST add to my TBR!

Ash, who has been made an outcast from his home, along with his yeti guardian Tobu, join the crew of the Frostheart as they venture on a daring quest to find Ash’s parents, whilst they strive to avoid the terrors of the Leviathans who relentlessly pursue them on their perilous journey across the Snow Sea.

This is the most incredible epic quest which is overflowing with edge-of-your-seat danger, jaw-dropping discoveries, and heart-warming, humour-filled friendships.  The world-building is amazingly immersive from the description of the cold, isolated landscape of the Snow Sea to the places they visit such as Skybridge where the technologically-minded vulpis live in Shade’s Chasm which is an icy escape-route through the mountains to the Isobai Stronghold.  The Frostheart sleigh-ship is also wonderfully described and is like a character itself in the story. 

You can read my full review here.

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!

WWW Wednesday

I didn’t post a WWW Wednesday last week as I didn’t actually do any reading which I think is a first for me since I started blogging. Getting back into school with all the children, writing reports and prepping work for a child who is still isolating and joining live sessions (even though I thought they’d be over!) has just taken it out of me, so I just didn’t have the energy to read. But, I have managed to get back into it now that I’ve settled into a routine again.

I have been sent a copy of Skin Taker and it has jumped to the top of my TBR. I read Viper’s Daughter last year and loved the pre-historic world and the brilliance of Michelle Paver’s writing which builds atmosphere and tension so brilliantly. I am only a few chapters into Skin Taker and, oh my goodness, it is incredible. I am continuing to listen to Changeling on audio after taking a break to listen to a different audio book (which is not like me!). I’m really enjoying this story whose main character, Sarah/Cassie is wonderful, finding her way out of her servant role, and into that of the magical class rulers. I have a fair idea of where this one is going, but am definitely invested in finishing it over the rest of this week.

I listened to Echo Mountain from Borrowbox. Just wow! I am not at all surprised that it has been longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. It tells the story of Ellie and her family who have had to leave their town after losing everything in the financial crash and begin again on Echo Mountain. It is a hard life for the family, made even more so when Ellie’s father is severely injured and is in a coma. Ellie is the most incredible young girl, so courageous, resilient and taking a huge burden on her shoulders to provide for her family. Whilst her mother and older sister hate their new life, Ellie feels like she is coming home and at one with nature. She feels emotions powerfully, empathising with the creatures around her. She is unrelenting in her determination to heal her father and, as part of this process, she meets Cate who others see as a hag or witch, but she is someone else entirely. Just brilliant! This is a powerful story that will touch your heart, shock and invigorate – definitely one I highly recommend.

I also read Lightfall which is a graphic novel. I haven’t read very many graphic novels even though my husband keeps encouraging me to read them as he is a huge fan. I really enjoyed this as it had the fantasy elements I love in a story, and I’m hoping that some of my class will now enjoy it.

I also finished Everyday Magic which tells the story of Arthur Blackstack who is sent to his aunts after the death of his parents. He likes peace and quiet, but this is not what he gets when he discovers that his aunts are witches and he is thrown into an adventure that tests his courage. This is quite a quirky and humorous with some wonderful characters. I will be posting my review shortly.

I absolutely devoured Harley Hitch and the Iron Forest as soon as I got it as I’m such a fan of Vashti Hardy’s writing – and she seems to be writing a lot, with at least two more books out this year. I have posted my review of this wonderful book for younger readers here.

I meant to read this one last week, and am hoping to get to it over this weekend.

What are you reading? Have you read any of these?

Review: Harley Hitch and the Iron Forest

I’m going to start this review by happily admitting that I have absolutely LOVED, and eagerly DEVOURED every book Vashti Hardy has published:  Brightstorm, Darkwhispers, Wildspark and The Griffin Gate, and her latest reading treasure is no exception. 

Harley Hitch and the Iron Forest is a fabulously fast-paced, inventive and fun-filled adventure that utterly entranced and delighted me, and is one I can’t wait to share with my class.

Harley Hitch is determined to have a good start on her first day of term, but disaster strikes when she is almost run over, making her both late and dirty!  Not the best of starts, and nor is her first meeting with new boy, Cosmo, since it was his mother who is responsible for her inauspicious start to the term.  To make matters worse, she finds herself being rather reluctantly paired with him to complete an invention challenge set by their teacher, Professor Spark.  Harley is desperate to design the best model as she hopes it will give her an opening to win Pupil of the Term, an accolade she longs to hold.  Her hopes are dashed when, instead of winning, she finds herself in detention alongside Cosmo, and being given a task to complete for their teacher.

They are given an errand to venture into the Iron Forest to get some cogs needed by Professor Spark as the Forest grows these supplies; however, once there, Harley makes a puzzling discovery:  a unique fungus is growing on the trees.  It soon transpires that the fungus is spreading and harming the forest which could prove disastrous for all of Inventia if the supply of machinery parts provided by the forest runs out.  Can Harley and Cosmo find a solution, and re-balance the forest ecology before it is too late?

This is a dazzling adventure, with unexpected twists and turns, that whizzes along as Harley and Cosmo race to save the Iron Forest – with a little help along the way.  Be prepared to meet a giant slug, a robot-dog that everyone will love and want for themselves, and some rather wise metal fish in the Rusty River! 

I loved the world-building which starts as soon as the book is opened with the map of Forgetown.  The world of Inventia is glorious with its hybrid of technology and nature.  I loved that the trees in the Iron Forest grew mechanical supplies and robot parts which the town and city depended on.  There are some wonderful environmental messages threaded throughout with the need to look after and respect the forest; not take more than is needed; and, how introducing new species can affect the delicate balance of nature.

I adored Harley who is the most wonderful young protagonist.  She has her own unique style and is not afraid to be an individual.  She makes mistakes, gets into trouble and is sometimes impetuous, but her heart is in the right place.  She takes risks, is determined to find solutions and admits when she has made mistakes, taking responsibility for her actions:  a brilliant role model!  I definitely have a soft-spot for Cosmo who is much more of a worrier and is more cautious and careful, but he is just what Harley needs!  Their friendship develops naturally, and whilst not without mishaps, they discover what it means to have someone else be there for you:  to listen, learn and trust, and to work together to solve problems. I also really liked the warm relationship between Harley and her two wonderful Grandads.

With themes of friendship, family, resilience, making choices, rights and the environment and STEM components, this is such a treasure trove for both reading for the pleasure to be gained in a fantastic story, and to open up some fascinating discussions.

The partial and full-page illustrations by George Ermos are gorgeous, and capture this wonderful world and its people perfectly.  I have to mention the illustrations in the Star Chatter Observatory which are just sublime! And – there’s a map – enough said!

Harley Hitch and the Iron Forest fizzes with excitement, inventiveness and fun, and is the perfect way to introduce younger readers to the sheer brilliance that is Vashti Hardy!  

Huge thanks to Scholastic for an early copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Review: Circus Maximus Race to the Death

Circus Maximus: Race to the Death is a thrilling, heart-racing adventure which transported me back to Ancient Rome where courage and skill, danger and foul play are the order of the day in its greatest sporting arena:  the Circus Maximus. Whilst the backdrop is the explosive excitement of the racing world, the beating heart at its epicentre is that of an incredible young girl, a girl with the courage and tenacity to fight for her seemingly unreachable dreams. 

Twelve-year-old Dido helps her father who is the head trainer for Rome’s most popular chariot racing team.  She harbours an ambition to become the first female charioteer to compete at the Circus Maximus.  Finding herself the proud owner of a young, wild stallion, Porcellus, with whom she forms a strong bond of friendship and trust, she hopes that he will help her fulfil her racing dream.  However, her dream is shattered when tragedy strikes:  her beloved father is murdered, and Dido finds herself running for her life … and leaving her hope of racing with Porcellus behind her.

Escaping to Carthage, she has a chance encounter with an old acquaintance of her father, Scorpus who maintains his links with the Circus Maximus by training charioteers and horses for the arena.    When her father’s employer, the owner of the Green Faction, visits Scorpus, she makes a shocking discovery that leads her onto a dangerous path, a path to uncover lies, treachery and betrayal, and one which sees her face powerful and cruel enemies.  Will Dido be reunited with the horse of her heart, and find a way to fulfil her dream?  Will she unearth the truth behind her father’s brutal murder?

I was completely fascinated by this ancient world which is so richly drawn and, in particular, the world of charioteer racing.  I had no idea of the danger, excitement and fury that exudes from the arena where both spectators and participants are embroiled in a frenetic competition that really did have my heart pounding.  The willingness to win at all costs, to endanger others and to resort to foul play made this doubly exciting (and made me quite vocal at times!) as I was never sure of how far the Emperor, the owners, the charioteers or, indeed, the crowd would go in pursuit of success:  race to the death is entirely apt!  I really liked that real people of the time were included such as the arrogant and cruel Emperor Caligula, even though I detested him!

At the heart of this remarkable historical adventure is the story of a courageous, strong and resilient young girl who is a brilliant role model for female empowerment, fighting for her place in a male-dominated and cutthroat sport. I have to mention the depth of Dido’s bond with the horses in this story which is beautifully and sensitively portrayed; the horses are wonderful characters within the story and, at times, my heart ached for them, but I also admired their strength and grace.

Circus Maximus: Race to the Death is a gripping, action-packed historical adventure, brimming with palpable excitement, danger and recklessness that made this an engrossing, edge-of-your-seat reading adventure. It is also a story of being true to yourself, of lioness-hearted courage and of an extraordinary heroine. I can’t wait for the next adventure in this series!

Thank you to Fritha Lindqvist and Zephyr Books for an early copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Six for Sunday

The March theme for Six for Sunday, hosted by A Little But a Lot is Around the world in 80 books, and today’s prompt is for Books set in the country you live. I’ve decided to change this a little and go for books set in Ireland as that is where I was born.

I have loved the first two books in this series, and can’t wait to read the final one. The setting for this trilogy is based on Arranmore Island which is on the West Coast of County Donegal.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Fionn Boyle, Storm Keeper of Arranmore, is facing the fight of his life. The terrifying all- powerful sorceress Morrigan has been raised from the dead and has sealed off the island from all help. Fionn is the only thing that stands between her and a dark future. He’s got to find a way to defeat her. But there are some terrible choices in store for Fionn as the dark sorcerer begins to take his nearest and dearest for her own. With only two candles left to burn, will Fionn master his powers in time to stop her?

I really enjoyed this timeslip story which is set in modern day Dublin and in 1950’s Dublin.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Two centuries, two children, one house. Beth didn’t want to move to Dublin – she misses her old life and her friends back in London. New home and new school is hard enough, but to make matters worse someone keeps messing up her room … At first, Beth blames her annoying brother, Cormac, but when she discovers a boy called Robbie, from the 1950’s, is slipping through time and into her room, then things start to get REALLY weird! The two create havoc together, learn about each other’s worlds and manage to help each other when they’re down. But the 1950s and the present day sometimes seem very far apart … Can their friendship stand the test of time? A mischief-maker from the 1950’s – a shy girl from today and a time-slip adventure like no other

I am going to be reading this as part of Reading Ireland Month. It is set in Donegal in 1976.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Donegal, 1976. When a dolphin takes up residence in Carrig Cove, Emer and her best friend, Fee, feel like they have an instant connection with it. Then Dog Cullen and his sidekick, Kit, turn up, and the four friends begin to sneak out at midnight to go down to the beach, daring each other to swim closer and closer to the creature . . . But the fame and fortune the dolphin brings to their small village builds resentment amongst their neighbours across the bay, and the summer days get longer and hotter . . . There is something wild and intense in the air. Love feels fierce, old hatreds fester, and suddenly everything feels worth fighting for.

I’ve chosen this one as the author has based the forest in The Wild Way Home on Mount Sandel Forest which is in Coleraine, Northern Ireland.

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Charlie’s longed-for brother is born with a serious heart condition, Charlie’s world is turned upside down. Upset and afraid, Charlie flees the hospital and makes for the ancient forest on the edge of town. There Charlie finds a boy floating face-down in the stream, injured, but alive. But when Charlie sets off back to the hospital to fetch help, it seems the forest has changed. It’s become a place as strange and wild as the boy dressed in deerskins. For Charlie has unwittingly fled into the Stone Age, with no way to help the boy or return to the present day. Or is there … ? What follows is a wild, big-hearted adventure as Charlie and the Stone Age boy set out together to find what they have lost – their courage, their hope, their family and their way home.

This is a Young Adult story set in a fictional isolated Irish town, Ballyfran. It is a witchy, dark read!

Goodreads Synopsis:

Everyone in Ballyfran has a secret, and that is what binds them together… Fifteen-year-old twins Madeline and Catlin move to a new life in Ballyfran, a strange isolated town, a place where, for the last sixty years, teenage girls have gone missing in the surrounding mountains. As distance grows between the twins – as Catlin falls in love, and Madeline begins to understand her own nascent witchcraft – Madeline discovers that Ballyfrann is a place full of predators. Not only foxes, owls and crows, but also supernatural beings who for many generations have congregated here to escape persecution. When Catlin falls into the gravest danger of all, Madeline must ask herself who she really is, and who she wants to be – or rather, who she might have to become to save her sister. Dark and otherworldly, this is an enthralling story about the bond between sisters and the sacrifices we make for those we care about the most.

This is part of a trilogy set in the times of the Great Irish Famine, and is an utterly engrossing read.

Goodreads Synopsis:

It is the late 1880s and the Great Famine has ravaged Ireland. The potatoes are black and rotten, and the people have nothing to eat. Eily, Michael and Peggy are alone in their cottage. Their parents went out in search of work and food, but never returned. Now the children must fend for themselves. Desperate to avoid being sent to the workhouse, they set out on a journey to find their great-aunts. On their journey they encounter the devastation caused by famine people scrabbling for food, abandoned children, soup kitchens, beggars, disease, wild dogs, death. Led by twleve year-old Eily, the children use all their strength and ingenuity to survive and find their way to Castletaggart.

MG Takes on Thursday

This is my weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books. I hope others will enjoy taking part in this too!

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 Tamsin Mori
Cover Illustration by David Dean
Interior Illustrations by Hannah Blackman-Kurz
Published by uclan Publishing

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

This was the first time she’d seen Grandpa for ages and now he was going to think she was weird.

This book in three words:

WEATHER-MAGIC, FRIENDSHIP, ADVENTURE

The Weather Weaver is a beautifully heart-warming and vivid story that swept me away into a captivating world that I didn’t want to leave.  This is a breath-taking and fresh adventure that sparkles with magic, wonder and mystery.

Eleven-year-old Stella has been sent to spend her summer holidays with her Grandpa on the Shetland Islands whilst her parents work on a research vessel.  She has not seen her Grandpa in six years and, when she does meet him, finds that he has changed.  He is grieving the loss of his wife and is grumpy and unwilling to spend time with her, or to let her explore the island, which is not the fun and adventurous Grandpa that Stella has such fond memories of.

Stella loves to read and has her own copy of ‘Shetland Myths and Magic’ which proves to be extremely apt!  After an incident with her Grandpa, Stella finds herself racing off and meeting an elderly lady, Tamar, who seems to have been waiting for her arrival.  Tamar has an incredible, magical ability that is at one with nature:  she is a weather weaver.  Stella discovers that she too is a weather weaver and soon fetches a spirited young storm cloud, Nimbus to her, a young cloud that will change her life, and together they will go on the most incredible adventure …

As Stella learns the art of weather-weaving, she also discovers that the island is facing a terrible threat from The Haken, a local sea witch, who has a deep hatred of weather weavers.  Will Stella have the courage and inner strength to confront the terror unleashed on the island? 

The author weaves a spellbinding story which is perfectly paced, building tension and impending danger and revealing secrets and twists that definitely took me by surprise, and which made the story a rich and touching one.  

I felt a real sense of wonder from delving into the ingenious magical system of weather-weaving which allowed me to appreciate the power and beauty of the elements. 

Stella is an incredibly sympathetic young girl.  She feels alone and disconnected from her grieving Grandpa and, whilst she desperately tries to get to know him again, he seems reluctant to spend time with her.  Her time on the island seems destined to be rather unsettled and unhappy until she meets Nimbus.  I love the friendship that forms between Stella and Nimbus.  Is this the time to say that I really, really want my own cloud and I’m sure many young readers will too!  Why?  Who wouldn’t want a playful, enthusiastic, mischievous, loyal and loving cloud-friend who is also sensitive to your moods?  There are some touching and humorous moments as Stella tries to train her new friend.  I also really enjoyed the relationship between Stella and her Grandpa as he opens up to her.  As Stella comes to accept herself, she shows admirable courage and strength when defending those she loves.

This is an exhilarating adventure, imbued with magic and myth, that took me on an exciting journey of discovery, danger and daring.

Thank you to the publisher for an early copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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!

WWW Wednesday

I’ve started listening to the audiobook of Changeling on Borrowbox. I’m really enjoying this world so far and think I’m going to really like the main character Sarah. Things are just getting interesting! I meant to read Everyday Magic last week but, unfortunately, work got in the way so I’m going to start it next.

These are two books which have been on my TBR for a long time! I finished the audiobook of Tin rather than reading the physical book. This is the first middle-grade book by Padraig Kenny. I’ve read and really enjoyed his next two, Pog and The Monsters of Rookhaven. It took me a while to get into this one but, when I did, I really enjoyed it. It felt quite dark and violent and there were some parts which shocked me a little, so this is one definitely suited to the upper end of primary. There was one particular thread that fascinated me that I think would make for great discussion (in unison with Wuildspark by Vashti Hardy).

Being so busy at work has meant that it has taken me longer than I had anticipated to read A Darkness of Dragons, but I got up at 6am to finish it this morning. Wow! I thought this was a brilliant story with three great friends, Patch, Wren and Barver who I absolutely adored. The three have a lot of obstacles to overcome, all with their own problems; however, they work together to help each other. There is a villain in the background who pervades the story and lends it a sense of urgency and danger which makes it fast-paced and brilliant! I have the next book in the series, A Vanishing of Griffins, on my bookcase and really, really want to read it soon, especially as this one is fresh in my mind. I discovered that the author was born in Belfast, so I might try to add it to my ‘Reading Ireland Month’ challenge.

I’ve wanted to do a re-read of Eye of the North for so long, so I’ve chosen to include it in my ‘Reading Ireland Month’ challenge.

Review: Mort the Meek and the Ravens’ Revenge

You absolutely must feast your eyeballs on this marvel, before the ravens get them!  It is deliciously gross, delightfully horrific and utterly hilarious.  Did I say I LOVED it? 

As its name so aptly hammers home, the island of Brutalia is not a place for the meek and mild. Its succinct motto is:  LIVE OR DIE.  Unfortunately, the Queen is much keener on the DIE part of the motto!  So keen in fact that she condemns a twelve-year-old-boy to death (mistaking him for thirteen and a half because, you know, that’s old enough for a brutal execution) for trapping a raven and, under duress, agreeing that it might make a rather tasty raven pie!  Just as the Royal Executioner is about to announce Weed’s method of execution, he goes and lets everyone down – by dying!  Not ideal timing!  The line of succession to this prestigious and important position is passed down through relatives, so the honour goes to Mort.  Perfect:  power and position!  Except it isn’t as Mort could not be less suited to his new role. Firstly, he is Weed’s friend and would rather not be responsible for executing him and secondly, he is the founding, and sole, member of The Pacifist Society of Brutalia. Mort is determined to save his friend without resorting to the brutality so encouraged on the island, and so begins a brilliantly inventive, hilarious and exciting adventure as Mort endeavours to outfox the cruel Queen with a little help from a new friend, Ono.  Will Mort be able to prove that peaceful means win the day, or will he end up with his eyeballs plucked out by the hungry ravens? 

Ravens!  Oh my!  The ravens of Brutalia rather enjoy conversing and introduce every chapter with their keen observations and food cravings which is pure comedy genius!  The playful use of language and commentary is such a joy from the interfering helpful narrator to use of homophones and palindromes. 

Mort is an adorable vegetarian, family-loving, pacifist, and what’s not to love about that?  He is a quick-thinking rule breaker who uses ingenuity and intelligence rather than fists to win a challenge.  He is also an amazing friend, even if his friends might not always think the same.    

The partial and whole page illustrations throughout are absolutely perfect, and complement the story-telling brilliantly.  I especially loved the emotions expressed through the illustrations.

Mort the Meek and the Raven’s Revenge is a fantastically funny book which made me giggle at things I really shouldn’t be giggling at (sorry!).  It is also a story about having the strength to stand up for what you believe in, being true to yourself and facing challenges with courage.  Humour with heart – my favourite kind of funny, and this delivers both.  It’s definitely a story that I know my class are going to adore, and I can’t wait to introduce Mort to them. 

Thank you to Charlie Morris and Little Tiger for an early copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

February Wrap-Up

Even though February is the shortest month, it didn’t feel like it! I was in work every day, teaching the keyworker and vulnerable children in class, and teaching live sessions for English and maths to the rest of my class who are learning from home. My IT skills have definitely improved! It has been wonderful catching up with the children every day which made us feel more connected as a class. I’ve also been reading The Train to Impossible Places to them in our afternoon sessions which they all seem to be enjoying. It will be wonderful to continue this with them when they come back into school on 8th March. Right, on to my bookish wrap-up …

Books I’ve read:

I’ve read 12 books this month: 8 physical copies, e-book and audiobooks.

NetGalley:

My Feedback Ratio is currently at 90%. I have requested and been approved to read 2 books this month, both of which I’m very excited to read. The Three Impossibles is due to be released on 3rd June, and The Lightning Catcher is due to be released on 13th May.

Books sent by publishers:

Books I’ve bought:

I have bought quite a lot of books this month, but some haven’t arrived yet, so I’m only going to include the 12 that have arrived in February. I had already read e-ARCS of The Shark Caller and A Tangle of Spells but really wanted physical copies as well.

How has your month been? Have you read any of these?

First Lines Fridays

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Maggie was sitting in Sol’s cafe, a cup of tea cooling beside her, only a few crumbs left of the huge slice of chocolate cake she’d just devoured. Beyond her flowed the dull afternoon bustle of West Minchen’s high street: its pound shops, gambling shops, restaurants and newsagents. But Maggie didn’t notice any of that. She was staring at someone. Here eyes were even wider than usual and a deep crease of concentration streaked down the middle of her forehead.

Any ideas?

This one has really intrigued me and, when I saw that the publisher had signed copies, I just had to have one!

Goodreads Synopsis:

Maggie Blue is an outsider, both at home and at school. She lives with her eccentric aunt Esme, and has no friends other than the irascible Hoagy, a stray cat who can talk to her. When Maggie sees Ida, her foe from school, being taken through a window to another world by one of their teachers who has transformed into a wolf, she is determined to save her, whatever the cost. But the dark world is full of danger, a place where happiness is valued above all else, and Maggie discovers that her role is far more important than anyone could have guessed. A thrilling and gripping tale of friendship, courage and the power of being yourself. 

Have you read this one? What did you think?