After hearing numerous students gush about Shannon Messenger’s middle grade series The Keeper of the Lost Cities, I finally have read the first book myself. It lives up to their hype. Sophie makes a likable, admirable, and relatable protagonist. An encounter at a museum leads her to discover her identity as an elf, and the story follows her adjustment to a new world, family, and friends. Though she feels like an outsider at her new school as much as she did at her human one, she embraces her abilities and explores their potential. Vaguely reminiscent of Harry Potter, I find this a brighter alternative. Messenger achieves a great balance between world building and character development, and I find myself tearing through the pages. I’ve acquired the next installment already and happily reported to my students I enjoyed it (and thanked them for the recommendation).
A Curious Beginning, the first Veronica Speedwell mystery by Deanna Raybourn, makes for a fun and adventurous escape. Slightly outside my normal reading avenues, the strong willed Veronica Speedwell carries her weight in a plot driven novel. She steps outside of the expected or even accepted female role of her time to choose her own path. After she meets Stoker, witty banter and the mystery heat up. The dynamic between the two leads keep me smiling and turning the pages. This beginning has me curious to continue the series.
The Harry Potter series has a top spot on PBS’s The Great American Read list, and some fellow Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club members have decided to read the entire series over the course of the year. That gives me an opportunity to keep a slow, steady pace to dive deeper into J.K. Rowling’s stories and characters, especially since this is not the first time I’ve read them. I have started Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone this weekend and already see points of interest. This series has so many angles and resources to see.
Grab a broomstick (or catch the Hogwarts Express train) and follow me to Hogwarts castle as Harry realizes the truth behind “yer a wizard” and attends the School of Magic for the first time. Harry figures out his identity, and the story keeps the wizarding world at stake through an epic battle of good versus evil. Follow along for a coming of age story for the ages.