FICTION

Two Girls, a Clock, and a Crooked House

Random. Sept. 2019. 304p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780525644163.
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Gr 5 Up–Amy Wood is struck by lightning on her way home; when she wakes up, she can see things she never noticed before. Some people have storm clouds hanging above their heads, others have hearts, and suddenly, she can see spirits in nature, too. Amy isn’t just seeing things; she can hear other’s thoughts as well. This is especially useful with Amy’s nonverbal friend Moo. Now that Amy and Moo can communicate with their minds, they decide to explore the woods and happen upon a run-down cabin filled with strange objects. Using her new abilities, Amy gathers items from the cabin and creates a time machine, and she and Moo find themselves 30 years in the past. There they meet up with Mrs. Goolagong, who is one percent witch, and Oliver, the young boy Mrs. Goolagong supposedly kidnapped and ate. Now Amy and Moo have to figure out how to get back to their own time and keep from getting in trouble for being out so late. Who knew time travel could be so confusing? This fun middle grade novel will appeal to reluctant readers and those who prefer their stories on the weird side. The writing style is entertaining and engaging, the chapters are short and easily consumable, and the characters, odd as they may be, are genuine. Some content may not be suitable for all middle grade readers; there are mentions of physical abuse, drug use, and bullying.
VERDICT A well-paced and original read for collections where quirky fiction titles such as Lemony Snicket’s “Series of Unfortunate Events” and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time are popular.

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