The Book of Living Secrets

Quill Tree/HarperCollins/. Mar. 2022. 400p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062941428.
Gr 8 Up–Best friends Connie and Adelle share a love of classic literature, but their all-time favorite novel is Moira, a sweeping romance and period piece set in 1885 Boston. Adelle longs to find love like that of Moira and Severin. She dreams of what he would be like in real life. Connie hasn’t told anyone, but she likes girls and Moira is her book crush. When creepy Mr. Straven, proprietor of oddities shop The Witch’s Eye Emporium, tells her he can do a spell and place her inside her favorite book, Adelle jumps at the chance. Connie, skeptical, agrees to go with her, and both are propelled into the book, but at different points in the plot. Alone and scared, Connie falls in with some of the book’s minor characters who were the villains, while Adelle gets to meet the wealthy Moira. Both girls encounter danger, though, because something is very wrong. The story that Connie and Adelle know is changing, and the more they struggle to find each other to escape, the worse things get. Expert worldbuilding and fully realized, likable characters make this a refreshingly different adventure. A gentle touch of romance adds to the drama as both girls fall for characters from the book world. A cryptic ending may leave some readers scratching their heads, but it leaves room for a sequel. All but one of the main characters are white.
VERDICT Fans of The Hazel Wood, Inkheart, and other books about books will find much to love here. Recommended for general purchase.

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