The Worlds We Leave Behind

Bloomsbury. Feb. 2023. 256p. adapted by . retold by . Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781547610952.
Gr 5 Up– It wasn’t Hex’s fault the little girl followed him and his best friend Tommo into the woods and got herself hurt. Yes, he did throw the rock (Why did he do that? He doesn’t know, just like he doesn’t know why he does many things), but he doesn’t deserve the scorn of his best friend or being attacked by the girl’s sister. Just as the injustice of everything overwhelms him, Hex finds himself at a mysterious cottage where an old woman kindly offers him a chance at revenge. He can make the girl who did this to him disappear, erase her from ever existing. But what if Hex isn’t the only one who has been given this offer? This delightfully creepy tale weaves the perfect mix of horror with honesty about the struggles of being human and growing up. Everyone makes mistakes, but what are the costs of purposely choosing to wrong another human being? Set in England, there are a several English references sprinkled throughout. Pinfold’s stunning black-and-white illustrations bring the characters and settings frighteningly to life throughout each chapter.
VERDICT Harrold delivers a world as eerie as it is true, as uplifting as it is intense in a triumph of storytelling. Recommended for purchase in all libraries serving patrons who seek complex tales about growing up.

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