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by N.E. Bode

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: June 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-055738-9
Publisher: HarperCollins

“Oh, civility! I miss it sometimes, but not very often.” A campy tale in more ways than one, this pits young Fern, introduced in The Anybodies (2004) as a vulnerable but plucky lass with the inherited ability literally to shake characters or items out of books, against a mole/man shapechanger with both severe personal issues and a cellarful of enslaved fictional orphans with names like Oliver, Heidi and Huck. Here Fern and her nerdy friend/rival/ersatz sibling Howard arrive at Camp Happy Sunshine Good Times to discover that it has fallen on hard times since the arrival of one BORT. “Henceforthtowith,” while figuring out what’s going on, foiling efforts to steal her magical tome The Art of Being Anybody, and rescuing the aforesaid Nobodies, she not only taps deep wells of spirit and courage, but discovers a few more unusual abilities. Inserting parenthetical descriptions of a jealous Creative Writing teacher’s murder attempts, the pseudonymous “Bode” dishes up a confection that may disorient readers unfamiliar with the previous outing, but is nonetheless rich in mystery, action and self discovery—along with plenty of literary references for well-read audiences to pick up, and occasional urbane illustrations from Ferguson. (Fantasy. 10-12)