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12-year-old protagonist Flick moves to a new town with her family, and discovers The Strangeworlds Travel Agency, which contains a whole host of parallel worlds, accessible through suitcases. Along with the Custodian of the agency, Jonathan, she discovers that something is wrong in the worlds, and adventure ensues.
My favourite aspect of this book was the contrast between Flick's very normal, British, working-class home life, which was really relatable, and the magical and fantastical worlds that she encounters through the Agency. It was refreshing to read a fantasy novel with such a relatable setting. The book still is very much a fantasy story, however, and each new world that Flick and Jonathan step into could contain endless possibilities, so I am looking forward to seeing what worlds future books bring! Every world the characters visited in this book was so richly described, and while some were only visited fleetingly, others were set up to be a setting for future adventures, with very detailed and thorough systems and peculiarities which will make them a lot of fun to revisit!
The characters are very likeable (even catty and sarcastic Jonathan who is a lot of fun to read!), and the development of Flick and Jonathan's friendship was really lovely. I'm looking forward to seeing how their interactions develop, and also to learning more about them both.
This first book in the series painted a good picture of the characters and the settings, as is necessary at the beginning of a series, but it didn't feel too heavy on description at the expense of story. This book had a very gripping plotline, which definitely kept me turning the pages, but also set up an extremely compelling larger arc that I suppose will keep us guessing for a few more books to come!
A thoroughly enjoyable book, with engaging characters, fantastically magical worlds and constant intrigue and adventure! Can't wait for book 2!
As a 12 year old I have read a lot of middle grade fantasies in the past few years but this one threatens to storm it's way past Wild Spark and the Train to Impossibe Places and become my new favourite book! A supposedly normal girl called Flick enters a mysterious shop and a multiverse of new possibilities is opened up to her. With a sarcastic teenager called Jonathan they travel to new worlds and investigate the city of Five Lights, where something strange is going on... Imaginative, funny and engaging. It's great and would make a good film. I wish this book would become the next Harry Potter because it has the potential to be (many people would disagree but this is just my opinion). I now wish that I was a member of the agency so badly.
From the first description of the shop itself I was hooked on this lovely book. Kept us enchanted all the way through and both me and my little girl (10) loved talking about the different characters and destinations.
Thank you so much for that lovely book. Reading it as a long in the tooth geography Senior leader at our school who has a keen support of reading. Right from the off the description of the shop is so powerful and drags you in. Loved every minute of it.
Huge congratulations and I really do hope we see Flick and Jonathan again soon. Well done.
'There have always been places in our world where magic gathers,' is the first line of this brilliant book, where magic doesn't so much gather as explode onto the page. We follow 12yo Flick as she discovers The Strangeworlds Travel Agency, run by the sarcastic 18yo Jonathan ('who as a rule hated asking for help from anyone who wasn't either a medical professional or simply taller and better equipped to reach the biscuits that were on the top shelf'), before going on a perilous journey in the magical multiverse as whole cities begin to disappear. There is so much I love about this book: it has the adventures and humour of Dr Who, the magic of Harry Potter, and the fantasy world building of Philip Pullman's Dark Materials. But I think what I love most is the way that LD Lapinski weaves effortlessly and authentic between the magical multiverse, and Flick's beige home that smells of baby rusk and she has to go with her mum to Lidl. So many scenes made e laugh out loud, as LD Lapinski captures the unfairness of being 12 years old so perfectly, and the sarcastic, flawed but compelling character of Jonathan was a delight. The authenticity and energy reminded me of the Sarah Jane Adventures, and this absolutely deserves to be made into a TV series. At one point Jonathan says, 'Worlds don't create magic of their own; they're just supported by it. It's life that creates magic.' And, I would add, LD Lapinski has created magic in this stunning MG debut series. Highly, highly recommended.
A beautifully emotional, both heart breaking and hopeful story. It feels powerfully relevant and timely and reached out to me as a book –lover and as a parent. A Kind of Spark is the story of Addie who, as an autistic young girl, has often felt taunted , misjudged and feared by others and has developed a fascination with the history of the witch trials in her village. Her passion and determination to get the village to admit and address the injustices done to those long forgotten women is powerful and passionate. It is an exploration of the idea of being “ normal” and of the pain and exhaustion that those who feel they must mask their differences must go through on a daily basis. Addie, as she defends and honours the witches, opens up the reader’s eyes to her own experiences ( and those of her older sister) and demonstrates how today’s world can alienate and seem to shame those with austism . Stunningly moving and sensitively written, it feels like a truly important book to be shared as well as an enthralling and thought provoking story to be savoured.
The story begins with an introduction to the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, before moving to the story of Flick Hudson, a girl who has just moved into the area with her parents and little brother. As she's exploring, she is drawn to the mysterious building and feels compelled to go inside. There, she meets Jonathan Mercurator, who when realises that Flick has the ability to 'see' magic, introduces her to the world-hopping adventures that the Agency provides. As expected, things start to take a more sinister and interesting turn, as a disappearance investigation leads them to discover that the worlds they visit appear to be changing. Journeys to other worlds are often seen in children's books, but as long as they offer something different and are exciting, I think there's room for them all. What I loved about this book are the descriptions of the worlds visited and their inhabitants. It reminded me of Doctor Who or Quantum Leap, where you never quite know what is going to be there until you arrive. The descriptions of each world were so incredibly vivid that they evoked physical reactions in me: one made me smile and want to jump on my bed, where another made me feel so unsettled that I wanted to scream, 'RUN!'. I know it's a cliche but I felt as if I was there. The other thing I loved about it was how realistic the characters were in terms of their reactions to what was happening around them. People who are sad don't always cry. People who are struggling don't always ask for help. People who are scared don't always stand there trembling with wide eyes. How Flick and Jonathan, and others, reacted to their situations added something wonderfully real to this tale of magic. Amongst the adventure, there is real heart. I loved it. The book leaves you with just enough questions to look forward to the next book (there had better be a next book!) but not so many to be left irritated by loose ends. I can't wait to share this with Y5/6 when we go back to school.
My 10 year old daughter and I read together a lot and have shared some amazing stories together and The Strangeworlds Travel Agency is absolutely one of our favourites.
The main character is very relatable. Flick is 11 and often becomes a stand in carer for her baby brother when both mum and dad are juggling work around their family. But then they move house and while exploring her new neighbourhood, Fliss finds The Strangeworlds Travel Agency and things get exciting! The worlds she discovers are so well written that it's easy to imagine yourself there too and while the main characters do end up in some perilous situations, they're not so worrying that they're going to upset younger readers.
This book really captured my daughter's imagination and has lead to some wonderful creative work of her own - her copy now lives in a magical suitcase on her bedroom wall :D - and we've bought it on two more occasions as gifts for friends of hers as she's been so keen to share the story. I'd recommend Strangeworlds to anyone reading to children from 5 or 6 up and from 10 years on for children reading alone. Both friends have loved it too. We're excitedly waiting for book 2 now which is due out early 2021.
We were totally hooked by the first page! The story telling and the imagination of The Author is one of the most wonderful things to behold and it made our Skin Crackle too! We are 2 Grownups and an 8 year old and we are on the journey with the wonderfully strong character Flick...our 8 year old loved that Flick is a girl with her own mind and determination but also shows her vulnerable side. We can’t wait for more adventures with The Edge Of The Ocean 2021!
Ok, just wow! Loved this from the very first page and couldn't put it down. Very reminiscent of the Discworld books, Dr Who and Fantastic Beasts. I just loved the concept - I mean who wouldn't want to step into a suitcase an immediately be transported to magical worlds? I need to find me a Strangeworlds Travel Agency now! Our heroine Flick is brave, adventurous and clever, she takes it all in her stride and is a great foil to the quirky Jonathan. Together they travel through the suitcase and make a startling discovery. Will they be able to save the worlds before it's too late? Well you'll just have to read it to find out, you won't be disappointed!
My son recently got into reading chapter books and we read all of Roald Dahl's in a few weeks, his favourite being Matilda. I searched the web to try find more modern authors and books, since Roald is from my own childhood. Twitter enlightened me and I bought many many of 2020s releases from new authors and authors who have only been around a few years. My son and I stormed through these over several weeks, reading 5 hours a day every day. New favourites came along, especially Andy Shepherd's Dragon series, but Strangeworlds has topped them all. It took until the 3rd chapter before he was hooked and already a week after finishing it we are starting to read it again. I was struck with a kind of fluidity and extra sensory experiences from the wonderful writing of the author, my son was captivated with Felicity and Jonathan and schisms. He has role-played a lot of this book since and it has stimulated much discussion and musing over what the next books may reveal. I feel there's something special about this author and I very much look forward to reading her next book in 2021. The story to me feels more original, more creative, not formulaic. I am left with questions but in a good way, there are several strands and I imagine there may be several more books to come in this series.