Thursday, September 1, 2011

ARC ARC: Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact

A.J Hartley's middle grade book Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact is a lot of fun, even if follows a steady traditional plot pattern. Darwen is a Manchester United fan who is orphaned and moves to Atlanta to live with his aunt. She means well but doesn't understand children or grief. His school is deliberately heartless and encourages bullies. These problems pale behind the magical dangers he discovers threatening his world through portals disguised as mirrors. With the help of two friends he tries to stop the invasion.

I liked the balance between action and emotional realism -- Darwen's grief over his parents is treated seriously even through the magical journeys and somewhat overblown awfulness of his school. His friends have their own problems that appear naturally rather than in placards over their heads as they appear. I enjoyed this book, and so did my seventh grade son.  He's rather blase about the early reading copy, but it makes me excited.

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