Can Grimsly save his hometown from a vengeance-seeking madman?
Twelve-year-old orphan Grimsly Summerfield is too normal for Quiver Hollows, a town shrouded in fog, where dogs give birth to purple piglets and everyone has magical powers. His guardian, Professor Snelling, who teaches spoon bending at the Manifesters Academy, encourages Grimsly in his pet-funeral business but admonishes the boy to protect the bones. When magic quickly vanishes from Quiver Hollows, the townsfolk blame the normal kid. The pets’ bones have been stolen, and Grimsly sets out alone to seek the Seer. That quest spawns another, more dangerous venture into the normal world beyond the fog. Grimsly eventually happens upon Moonsliver Academy, where he discovers an awful curse, a horrible truth about himself, and a wicked man with evil plans. Condescending in its repetition and overuse of exposition, paranormal-romancer Noël’s middle-grade fantasy is surprisingly amateurish. Grimsly’s present-tense narration is awkward and off-putting, and none of the other characters come to life. Grimsly repeatedly bemoans his ordinariness; but in a town where everyone is weird, what’s the measure of ordinary? Rampant conclusion-jumping in service of the storyline and clumsy narrative shortcuts make this an easy “no, thank you.”
There’s no magic in them bones. (Fantasy. 9-12)