Thanks to the #kidlitexchange network for the free review copy of this book -all opinions are my own.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
After hearing voices among an eerie copse of trees in the woods, seventeen-year-old Curtis must confront his worst fear: that he has inherited his father’s mental illness. A desperate search for answers leads him to discover Gravenhearst, a labyrinth mansion that burned down in 1894. When he locks eyes with a steely Victorian girl in a forgotten mirror, he’s sure she’s one of the fire’s victims. If he can unravel the mystery, he can save his sanity . . . and possibly the girl who haunts his dreams.
But more than 100 years in the past, the girl in the mirror is fighting her own battles. When her mother disappears and her sinister stepfather reveals his true intentions, Mila and her sister fight to escape Gravenhearst and unravel the house’s secrets—before it devours them both.
I had a blast reading this book. I loved that from page one, you’re dropped directly into the middle of the story, and the only way to figure out what’s going on is to keep reading. The two sets of characters and time periods slowly start to come together when it all clicks, it feels like the whole story is blown wide open. This book is definitely going to appeal to readers who enjoy fantasy and action/fast-paced scenes.
The story alternates between time periods and narrators: Curtis is living in today’s world and Mila is living in the 1890s. And thanks to a mysterious mirror, the two are able to communicate with each other. In addition to the time travel-ish aspect, there’s also alchemy, dirt bikes, creepy villains, a haunted house, and a dash of romance. . . A little bit of something for everyone.
It’s important to note that one of the main topics in Curtis’ chapters is his father’s mental health battle. It’s pretty intense. And vital to the storyline. One of Curtis’ struggles is the stigma associated with his father’s disease and it affects every aspect of his life. Personally, I think it’s a plot point that is important for readers to take in and possibly relate to and/or open the door for conversation if need be. I also think it’s important to note that some of these scenes are very violent and may not be appropriate for all audiences.
Highly recommend. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Book stats: Hardcover, 320 pages, Amulet Books (Abrams), September 26, 2017