Monday, September 13, 2010
by Michelle Harrison
Little, Brown and Company, 2010.
A remarkable debut novel from a new voice across the pond (England). 13 Treasures is truly a treasure of a book. Tanya's mother forces her to go to her grandmother's spooky family estate far from the city. Tanya thinks the old mansion is creepy and overgrown and especially can't stand being around Fabian, the estate manager's son. At least her mother allowed her to take her trusted dog Oberon with her.
Soon, the house's dark side is revealed and Tanya is given a charm bracelet with 13 weird charms. A gypsy woman, considered a witch by townsfolk, gives Tanya a strange compass that seems to be broken.
Fairies, good and bad, want Tanya to come to Hangman's Wood. With Fabian's help, Tanya hopes to solve her family's mystery and fix its tainted past and free herself forever from the fairies.
Harrison has a gift for setting and tone. For example when describing Tickey End (love that name for a town) Harrison writes, "It was also the kind of town where everybody knew everybody, and if you were a stranger curtains would twitch as you walked past."
Masterful storytelling! 13 Treasures is a quick read--a real page-turner. Readers who love mystery, gothic elements, fairy tales, and things that go bump in the night will love this tale.
Highly, highly recommended: grades 6-10.
FTC Required Disclosure: I bought this book for my middle school library. I received no monetary compensation for this review.