Being a Reader comes with significant challenges in this fantasy filled with ever-changing library stacks, enchanted books and talking cats.
Late one night, 12-year-old Alice Creighton stumbles upon her father in conversation with a threatening fairy. Next thing she knows, her dad is off to Buenos Aires on a steamer ship that mysteriously goes down in a freak storm. Now an orphan, she is sent to live with her uncle Jerry, aka Geryon, who happens to have an unusual and off-limits library that harbors a coveted book and creatures that may explain what really happened to Mr. Creighton. There, she meets the boy Isaac, a Reader, who has the power to enter books and interact with the creatures within them, and discovers that she’s a Reader, too. She is also given the opportunity to apprentice herself to Geryon, which she takes in a desperate effort to find her father. Alice proves to be an active and intelligent heroine who adeptly pulls compatriot and rival Isaac out of more than one potentially fatal challenge. Vaguely reminiscent of Harry Potter, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Inkheart all rolled into one, it’s good fun, if a tad light on character transformation and sagging a bit in the middle.
Working in the grand tradition of children’s fantasy, Wexler’s off to a promising start. (Fantasy. 10-14)