A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
A window into life at an exclusive private school, and an introduction to class differences through the character of Darwen, a working-class kid from Northern England.
The protagonist learns that neither dwelling on the past nor worrying too much about the future can match the value of present-day friends and family.
Positive Role Models
Darwen and his friends look out for each other and bravely fight against the monsters in the mirror. Although she's initially uncomfortable with her new role as a single parent, Darwen's aunt learns to communicate with her nephew.
Violence & Scariness
Monsters wreak havoc in both the real world and within the mirror, but the violence is mostly of a cartoon variety, without any description of bloodshed.
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"Chuffin' 'eck!" is as strong as it gets.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this fantasy novel follows the adventures of an 11-year-old orphaned British boy transplanted to Atlanta, GA, where he goes through a mirror to another world. He must not only stand up to bullies and unreasonable teachers at private school, but also protect our world from invading monsters from the enchanted mirror world.
Is It Any Good?
DARWEN ARKWRIGHT AND THE PEREGRINE PACT follows too closely the J.K. Rowling template. Although Darwen is from working-class Northern England and his adventures take place in Atlanta, GA, he and the new friends he's made at private Hillside Academy, fellow outsiders Alexandra and Rich, are a little too reminiscent of Harry, Hermione, and Ron. Author A.J. Hartley keeps the action moving steadily forward, but the plot doesn't achieve liftoff until its final chapters.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.