Guest: A Changeling Tale

Clarion. Sept. 2019. 224p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780358067313.
Gr 4-7–It’s Mollie’s fault when the Kinde Folke (a group of spiteful fairies who are neither delicate nor kind) kidnap her brother and leave Guest in his place—a sickly fairy halfling who does nothing but bite, pinch, eat…and tear her family apart. Eventually, a desperate Mollie treks to the Darklands with Guest in tow, determined to make the fairies give her brother back now that Guest is healthy again. Everyone they meet along the way has their own secret agenda, but worst of all is the Queen of the Kinde Folke. And Mollie’s brother, once discovered, has no wish to leave his new family to return to a life of poverty with his old one. Can Mollie’s bravery make up for her habit of speaking before she thinks? This tale by Hahn, notable for her “just right” scary stories for the upper elementary school crowd, is somewhat different than her usual offerings, veering more toward fantasy than horror. The creepy atmosphere and Mollie’s determination offset her rather slow-moving journey to the Darklands, and the absence of neat endings lends a touch of reality.
VERDICT A solid purchase for upper elementary school students who like a dark tale grounded in myth.

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