Parents' Guide to

The Spindlers

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Fantastic, creepy tale for tweens features fierce big sis.

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Oliver is proving as adept with middle-grade adventures as she has with young adult novels. The Spindlers is a fun and fabulous read for tweens who like their fantasies a bit on the eerie side. Crafted in the same spirit as Lewis Carroll's Alice, L. Frank Baum's Dorothy and Neil Gaiman's Coraline, Oliver's Liza is a plucky young heroine who's willing to face a host of creepy creatures in an alternately whimsical and terrifying underworld, all to save her younger brother. Liza isn't fearless, but she's purposeful; she knows that if she doesn't get to Patrick, he will be lost to her -- and her parents -- forever. It's hard not to root for a sister who's so dedicated to her pesky little brother.

The underworld that Oliver has created is inventive, if occasionally derivative (the moribats sure seem like the Wicked Witch's flying monkeys). The idea of every person having their own dream-bringer -- the nocturni -- is particularly compelling, as are some of the riddles and tests that Liza must master to find Patrick. A tale of friendship and family, of finding your strength and summoning a courage you didn't know you possessed, The Spindlers is an intricately woven adventure that parents and kids will enjoy reading together.

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