Hey everyone! We’ve moved Middle-Grade Monday over from our TBR and Beyond Facebook Group to the blog! Hopefully we can bring you lots of great reviews, topics and maybe even some author interviews!
I’m a massive middle-grade fan, and I’m always trying to get people to give it a shot! Hopefully these reviews will give you a better idea if you want to try out the books or not! That is the goal anyway!
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Published: July 16th 2019
Trigger Warnings: Anxiety and Panic attacks
Magic is fading from the Wild Wood. To renew it, goblins must perform an ancient ritual involving the rarest of their kind—a newborn changeling. But when the fateful night arrives to trade a human baby for a goblin one, something goes terribly wrong. After laying the changeling in a human infant’s crib, the goblin Kull is briefly distracted from his task. By the time he turns back, the changeling has already perfectly mimicked the human child. Too perfectly: Kull cannot tell them apart. Not knowing which to bring back, he leaves both babies behind.
Tinn and Cole are raised as human twins, neither knowing what secrets may be buried deep inside one of them. Then when they are twelve years old, a mysterious message arrives, calling the brothers to be heroes and protectors of magic. The boys must leave behind their sleepy town of Endsborough and risk their lives in the Wild Wood, crossing the perilous Oddmire swamp and journeying through the Deep Dark to reach the goblin horde and discover who they truly are – Synopsis from Goodreads
“That morning she had wanted nothing more than a cup of tea, and now there were real goblins and sinister swamps and strange women who turned into bears – and her boys were gone.”
Changelings, goblins, creatures, fae? That pretty much checks off everything that will sell a book instantly to me, so I was thrilled to get my hands on a copy of this ARC.
I was interested pretty early on in The Changeling because it was by Young Adult author William Ritter. You may recognize the name, he wrote the wonderful Jackaby series, so I had high hopes he could write a fantastical middle grade novel as well. Though, where Jackaby was Historical Fiction and Supernatural, here the author dives fully into the fantasy realm and I couldn’t be happier about it.
We start off with a little sneaky goblin trying to save his kind by switching a changeling baby with a human baby (it’s a long story), but he completely bumbles it up and the the babies instantly look a like and he can’t tell them apart for the life of him, so he just bolts and leaves without the human child – much to the mother’s surprise. The mother keeps both babies, despite her husband seemingly leaving her over it and the towns people constantly whispering about her having a changeling baby. The two boys, Tinn and Cole are fairly different. One is more impulsive and adventurous and one is more cautious and anxious. Despite their differences they are fiercely loyal to one and other and always with the other. They are best friends and it’s so nice to see their relationship. They are aware of the stories about them, but they have no idea which one of them is the changeling.
Eventually the goblin, Kull comes back for the Changeling and a hot mess of adventure ensues of course. The adventure is so much fun. There is a lot of banter and siblings working together. We also have a young girl that is in the Oddmire that joins them i nthe adventure and she is quite the oddball character and I loved her to pieces. We get quick sand, danger man eating vines, goblins and throw in a legendary witch, of course, for good measure and you’ve for the first in this series.
My favorite part of this story is the author includes the mother (or mothers, I won’t go into that though). No, they aren’t dead and they aren’t horrible hags. They are amazing, fierce, single mothers that love their children and will fight to the ends of the earth to protect them. THANK YOU! I’m always wondering where the damn parents are, well this book show us. They are completely involved, searching – fighting – helping their children and it was so refreshing to see. I just loved it so much.
I would highly recommend this book and especially to families with children. It’s such a healthy message showing the mothers as strong, independent and intelligent women. It makes my heart so happy and I wish more books would show single mothers in this light. Way to go William Ritter, you did good!