THE CITY ON THE OTHER SIDE by Mairghread Scott


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 12
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An affluent, sheltered girl embarks on an adventure to bring peace to a realm of fairies besieged by war.

With her emotionally distant mother in Europe, young Isabel travels to the country to spend a lonesome summer with her equally distant artist father, away from “filthy” San Francisco. One fateful night she inadvertently slips through the Veil into the fairy world and acquires a powerful magical necklace. Suddenly, Isabel finds herself in the middle of a war between the Seelie and the Unseelie. With the Unseelie inching closer to total domination, Isabel must return to the fairy side of San Francisco and find the missing Seelie princess while escaping the wrath of the power-hungry Prince Coscar, leader of the Unseelie. Set in the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, the narrative glides at a brisk pace, never veering from its adventure plot. The historical backdrop adds a thin layer of tragedy to the story, but the author leaves this subtext somewhat unexplored in favor of delightful secondary characters. As Isabel clashes with both Seelie and Unseelie fairies, she teams up with a spunky sentient mushroom named Button and Benjie, a Filipino orphan. Featuring a diverse cast of humans (brown-skinned Isabel and her family seem to be Latinx) and fairies, Robinson’s colorful, dynamic artwork crackles with spirited fun and portrays San Francisco and its fairy-realm equivalent in broad, evocative panels. A brief, graphic history of San Francisco follows the story.

A worthwhile peek into the world of fairies, with poignant hints of fancy. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 24th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-250-15255-8
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: First Second
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2018


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