Over the Woodward Wall Oct. 2020. 208p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780765399274.
Gr 8 Up–This book, written under a pseudonym, is a companion to Seanan McGuire’s Middlegame—it’s the protagonists’ favorite novel—though it also stands alone. A master of fantasy and storytelling, McGuire departs from her previous urban fantasy fare to transport readers, along with young white neighbors Zib and Avery, from the earth they know and into a fantastical realm called the Up-And-Under, which is inhabited by a wide array of talking mythical creatures. Zib and Avery, who are opposite in almost every way, embark on an adventure to find a way home together, and must learn to trust each other in order to get back to Earth. Older teens will connect with classic bildungsroman elements, such as self-actualization, while enjoying the magical and mysterious setting. Like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland meets The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, McGuire weaves a whimsical world where it seems anything is possible, but mortal danger is around every corner.
VERDICT With strong themes of self-discovery, friendship, and loyalty, this book will be enjoyed by teens of all ages. McGuire’s lyrical prose is perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, and Madeleine L’Engle.

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