A girl must stop the Boogeyman living in her home from stealing her family’s warmest memories in this haunting, atmospheric novel from the author of Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times and The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden.
When her distant aunt and uncle die, Amelia Howling is forced to move into their home when they leave her parents in charge of their children. Her parents assure her that it will be like having a grand adventure with three new siblings, but Amelia is not convinced. Luckily, the house is large, filled with nooks and crannies perfect for hiding from her cousins.
But even with all the nooks and crannies, the rumbling and crumbling rooms are more sinister than they seem. The house was built years ago by a creature named Horatio, and he’s been waiting for the perfect human inhabitant: Amelia. Horatio has the power to travel through time and memories, and lures Amelia into his world. The memories of children, he told her, were the best, and Amelia agreed—her cousins were full of good memories. Until she noticed that once she and Horatio visited a memory, it was gone forever. And she had been stealing the good memories of her cousins and their parents without even noticing!
Horrified and scared, Amelia lets her cousins in on her secret, and asks them for help. Together, they must race through time to recover their minds and break the perfect clockwork of the evil Calendar House.
Emma Trevayne has written a vibrantly detailed and descriptive novel where metaphors are used like brushstrokes on a painting. Her writing is captivating while evoking the emotional gamut from joy to sadness from the reader. She requires you to use creative thinking skills so you can become a part of the story as her wording has this edge of realism to it that your imagination can’t quite grasp what you’re reading isn’t fantasy. It’s magically inspired and amusingly educational thanks to the main character’s love of the dictionary with its sporadic multi-syllable words scattered about. Trevayne obviously did a bit of research as she enriched her fantasy with stories from various places around the world for Amelia to visit on her adventures. It’s definitely the most unique plot line I’ve read in quite a while.
The overarching themes of family and grief were beautifully handled through her complex, well-written characters. As a parent there were times I wanted to hug Amelia and times I wanted to ground her for her attitude and treatment towards her cousins who were suffering from something far worse than her which she realized eventually. I loved how she made the house its own character with a colorful personality. The book starts off making it seem as if the house is a living entity, not in that Amityville kind of way, but as something more poetic.
This was a surprisingly powerful, artistic and charming story for being a children’s book. Adults should definitely enjoy this as well and the lessons gleaned from within its lyrical pages can certainly liven up conversation around the dinner table.
Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publising for allowing me to review this book.
Buy at Amazon: http://a.co/9UJ21X0
*Book image and synopsis from Netgalley