Twelve-year-old Eleanor has just moved to Eden Eld to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother was killed in a fire. Her birthday, which falls on Halloween, is just around the corner, and she hopes that this year will be a fresh start at a new life. But then one morning, an ancient grandfather clock counting down thirteen hours appears outside of her bedroom. And then she spots a large black dog with glowing red eyes prowling the grounds of her school. A book of fairytales she’s never heard of almost willingly drops in front of her, as if asking to be read. Something is wrong in the town of Eden Eld.
Eleanor and her new classmates, Pip and Otto, are the only ones who see these “wrong things,” and they also all happen to share a Halloween birthday. Bonded by these odd similarities, the trio uncovers a centuries-old pact the town has with a mysterious figure known as Mr. January: every thirteen years, three thirteen-year-olds disappear, sacrificed in exchange for the town’s unending good fortune. This Halloween, Mr. January is back to collect his payment and Eleanor, Pip, and Otto are to be his next offering…unless they can break the curse before the clock strikes thirteen. –goodreads
All I can say about this book is wow. I’m seriously stunned. My experience with middle grade books is kinda meh, especially fantasy or mystery. They just aren’t very enthralling. This had me enthralled and I could not put it down, I read it in about two hours. It’s one of the best mystery novels I’ve ever read and certainly one of the best MG (along with Front Desk, another great MG novel).
The characters were lovable, the atmosphere was great (had me wanting it to be fall again) and I seriously loved the mystery. At first I was a bit sceptical, but as I got into it was amazing. I would have to say my favourite character would be Otto. He was just a really sweet, funny and sensitive dude which doesn’t happen enough in books.
Also, if you have read this book, were you rooting for a Pip/Eleanor romance?? It’s not there but I definitely think it should be.
This is a pretty short post but it’s honestly pretty hard to find fault in this book. I recommend it!
Have you read this book? Is it on your tbr? What do you think of middle grade books?