13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison Here’s one that feels good for kids who loved but are now a little old for the Spiderwick Chronicles. Thirteen-year-old Tanya can see fairies and all sorts of magical creatures. Mostly they torture her, creating havoc whenever she writes about her experiences with them in her diary. They’ve made things so bad for her at home that her mother, thinking Tanya is deliberately causing the damage, send her away to her grandmother’s old house in the country. The ancient manor house is now inhabited only by the grandmother, the caretaker, and the caretaker’s father and son, an annoying boy of about Tanya’s age by the name of Fabian. Fabian doesn’t believe in the fairies, but is obsessed with clearing his grandfather’s name, his grandfather long being thought guilty of the murder of his girlfriend at the age of 14 many years ago. Said girlfriend also having been Tanya’s grandmother’s best friend, the web is tightly tangled. Tanya finds many more mysterious things: children regularly disappear in the village; there are secret tunnels under and throughout the manor; her grandmother gives her an ancient charm bracelet with thirteen charms. This was my biggest problem with the book. The thirteen charms are supposed to be the 13 Treasures, belonging to the Fey and representing a struggle between the Seelie and Unseelie courts. However, the mystery, while a perfectly fine one, turns out to be much smaller scale than the epic battle that the story of the 13 Treasures implies. I’d hope for a sequel to explore this tangent more thoroughly, although there didn’t seem to be enough loose ends for me to expect one. Still, the world of fey, some beautiful, some malevolent, with lots of changelings and intrepid kids is an intriguing one that should find many fans.
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