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Review of The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone
by Jaclyn Moriarty
Intermediate    Levine/Scholastic    380 pp.    g
10/18    978-1-338-25584-3    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-1-338-25585-0    $10.99

In this highly entertaining and brilliantly plotted fantasy, orphaned ten-year-old Bronte must embark alone on a multi-kingdom visit to her many aunts, a trip minutely scripted by the terms of her parents’ will. In the course of her adventures Bronte rescues a baby from a raging river and earns a medal of bravery from elves; flies on a dragon’s back; solves a mystery (with the help of a gleefully rule-breaking librarian) that proves the innocence of Aunt Emma and saves the life of a water sprite; protects a kingdom by playing her trumpet; and makes true friends and eludes murderous pirates on a cruise ship — to give just a sample of the variety and frequency of incident here. And, oh yes, she discovers that she is a Spellbinder (like Aunt Carrie, a.k.a. the powerful Carabella-the-Great); defeats the evil Whispering King with her newfound skills; and releases her parents — spoiler alert: not dead after all! — from the king’s dungeons. With its storytelling aplomb, humor, imagination, and many twists and turns, this novel places Moriarty (the Colors of Madeleine YA trilogy, beginning with A Corner of White, rev. 5/13) firmly in Diana Wynne Jones territory. Readers will want to begin rereading this spellbinder just as soon as they finish it, to find all the clues and connections and coincidences Moriarty drops and weaves and reconciles throughout.

From the September/October 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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