If Amelia Bedelia stumbled into a particularly wacky episode of Dr. Who, this book might be the result.
Self-deluded and self-important, with a propensity for chaos that boggles the mind, 12-year-old Ivy Pocket is the kind of maid that should be avoided at all costs. Her most recent employment ends when the Countess Carbunkle escapes her too-attentive “help” for South America, stranding the girl in Paris. Almost immediately she is tapped by the dying Duchess of Trinity to deliver the exceedingly rare Clock Diamond to a particular girl on her 12th birthday. Next thing Ivy knows, she’s wrapped up in some very mysterious business. What are the visions she’s seeing in the diamond? Why is she suddenly able to see ghosts? And perhaps most importantly, who exactly is trying to kill her—and why can’t she die? Ivy is a rarity—an unreliable middle-grade narrator—and as such, Ivy is hilarious in and of herself. Yet what starts off as a straightforward cursed-necklace tale gets bogged down in a mythology that seems to want to keep topping itself. Ivy and readers are already knee-deep in ghosts, attempted murders and bratty heirs. Do they really need prophecies and alternate worlds on top of that?
Ivy’s charming ego carries the book far, just barely making up for any superfluous extras. (Fantasy. 9-12)