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Summary: Chessie Bligh is off to boarding school ... or so her parents think! All her life, her parents have been more interested in Chessie as a way to move ahead in their careers, not in being her mom and dad. In fact, her mother is anxiously awaiting an invitation to the Queen's Christmas party. So when Chessie meets Aelyn (an orphan who WANTS to go to boarding school) at the airport, they hatch a plan. Chessie will go to Sternwaler, a school in the Grand Canyon, and Aelyn will take Chessie's place in London. At Sternwaler, Chessie meets others who are just like her, and together they explore history ... and how the magical powers she possesses can change it. This is a YA fantasy about a young girl who is discovering her elf destiny.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 10 and up; read yourself: 12 and up
Interest Level: 10 and up
Reading Level: 6.4
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a fascinating, though slow, read. The characters are engaging, and you are regularly introduced to two or more at a time. The author offers great detail to help you "see" where you are, but sometimes this is overpowering and you get lost. While I love books with adventure and mystery, the complexity, shifts, and number of characters are overwhelming for a casual read. The reader knows something is going on with Gareth, but it is dragged on too long.
Pros: Adventure, history, and magic will entice teens to explore and be part of Chessie's world.
Cons: The level of detail in the book requires visual aids, such as a map, character index, and maybe even a family tree. The Germanic/Nordic names will likely frustrate reluctant and remedial readers.