Saturday, August 30, 2014

It's both a blessing and a curse that the world is filled with so many books. Walk into any bookstore and you'll find yourself overwhelmed with the vast selection. The popular books, much like the popular kids in high school, are the ones that get noticed, go on lots of book dates and get talked about. There are other, completely fantastic books that go relatively unnoticed. As time goes on, as years pass, those other books are too often forgotten.

Every few weeks I'll feature a lost book here on my blog. The sort of book I keep extras of to push onto unsuspecting friends and neighbors. The sort of book that didn't get the fanfare it deserved, may not be as well known, and is quite often lost on overcrowded bookshelves.

First up is May Bird And The Ever After by Jodi Lynn Anderson.

When 10-year-old May Bird stumbles through a portal hidden in the swamp, she finds herself in the Ever After, a strange world filled with ghosts. May is quickly followed through the portal by her one friend - her sour-faced, hairless cat, Somber Kitty. In this strange new world, the living are forbidden and cats are public enemy number one. May needs to get home fast, before the bogey man catches her and Evil Bo Cleevil, the despotic tyrant who runs the Ever After,  uses his power to turn her to nothing.

This is one of my favorite series in the history of ever. It's a middle grade reader with fantastic world building, lots of humor, adventure and unforgettable characters. May is a strong, gutsy little girl who stands up for what she believes. Somber Kitty is the original Grumpy Cat, written long before GC was a tiny kitten. In fact, I think GC may owe Somber Kitty some royalties.

Anderson manages to make Somber Kitty a central character to the story, imbuing him with personality and life, and never once resorting to the talking animal trope which is common in Middle Grade fiction. This is an animal companion done right.

Joining May & Somber Kitty on their adventure is a bumbling house ghost named Pumpkin. He's a well-meaning pudding head who sucks his fingers when he's nervous and thinks of May as his best friend, even if she's only just realized he exists.

There is so much to cheer on in this book. May rescues herself, no boys needed. The world building is phenomenal. There are so many lush little details, gorgeous descriptions, blocks of text that make me want to sink into this book and never come out. I laughed at the idea of Soul Cakes, the primary food used in the Ever After, and the Egyptian ghosts who hunt Somber Kitty, determined to capture this living creature and anoint him as their god, and then entomb him in a pyramid as Egyptians will do.

Every little thing in the Ever After has it's own unique, funny name and they're all so perfect. The locations. The characters. I become incoherent trying to describe it all. Let us simply say that if you love a good adventure and you can still find your inner-child, I think you'll love this book.

The publisher has recently released the first book in the series again with a new cover so you should be able to find this book at your local bookstore or library. Pick it up and give it a try. You just may fall in love with characters as much as I have. Fair warning, this is a trilogy and you will want to read the other two books, both of which are just as wonderful.

Find it on GoodReads >>

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