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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Review: Emily Windsnap and the Land of the Midnight Sun by Liz Kessler

Adventure, friendship and romance for the 9-12s

Emily Windsnap is a half-mermaid, so she appears human on land and her tail appears in water. This is her fifth adventure (although the first I've read), so you may find spoilers in this review for earlier titles.

One of the best things about this book is Emily's character. In so many ways, she's like a typical tween/early teen, so she's very easy to relate to and I'm sure there are hoards of readers who will love these books. At the same time, the mermaid angle, which in this book leads her on a top-secret mission for King Neptune himself, adds all sort of excitement. Emily narrates her own story, so her feelings are easily accessible and we have no difficulties sympathising with her point of view.

The plot is twisty enough to keep us turning the pages without being over-complicated, and the cast of secondary characters offers such gems as the grumpy Neptune. Relationships are very important in this book (as they are for tween-into-teen readers) with tensions between a budding romance and a bff, as well as eternal issues like mother-daughter relationships.

All in all, this is a delightful read which offers gentle reassurance on various perennial concerns for the middle grade readership, packaged into an exciting quest narrative.

From the Back Cover

Have you ever had nightmares? King Neptune has, and that's why he sent me on a top secret mission.

When I discovered a kingdom with everyone turned to ice, I knew why the nightmares had terrified him. What I didn't know was how to complete my mission. I needed help, but my best friend, Shona, was miles away and my boyfriend, Aaron, had just told me a secret that left us barely speaking. The question was, could we work together to save our world - and our relationship?

Swishy wishes,
Emily Windsnap

Published September 2012 by Orion Children's Books
Find it at Goodreads

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