Two neglected kids find a sparkly, magical community and great evil in small-town Maine.
Annie’s in her 12th foster home, having infuriated previous families with her pallor and her tendency to attract animals. This current family locks her in a frozen backyard with bloodthirsty wolf/dog hybrids. Jamie’s always lived in the same home, but after seeing his grandmother summon green-skinned monsters from the woods—and become one—he realizes his family’s lifelong threats to eat him weren’t jokes. Just as the supposedly-his-family trolls are about to chomp him, Jamie’s rescued by a dwarf on a snowmobile. Annie’s on the snowmobile too. Jones employs a Roald Dahl–esque sensibility, with evil-adult caricatures, abused yet gentle-hearted kids, and such snacks as “opposite gum” (tastes the opposite of how you feel). Annie goes from “not special”—her name is literally Annie Nobody—to the person whose magic “is our future, our promise, and our salvation.” The glittering elements here are kindness, animals, and the invisible magical town right next to Mount Desert, Maine. Exposition about the bad guy drags. Still to come in future volumes: a battle against evil; Jamie waiting out the year in which he might become a troll; and probably, eventually, parents for Annie and Jamie. Given that Jamie’s almost the only brown-skinned character, more would be welcome.
Longer than necessary but effervescent, funny, and genuine. (Fantasy. 8-12)