Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Synopsis: When officers brandishing toilet brushes arrive at their door, eleven-year-old Ivy Sparrow and her older brother, Seb, go tumbling into Lundinor, a secret underground city. The siblings find themselves in a world of enchantment, where uncommon people, alive and dead, trade in uncommon goods: belts that enable the wearer to fly, yo-yos that turn into weapons, buttons with curative properties, and other enchanted objects capable of extraordinary feats.
But the charm wears thin when Ivy and Seb learn that their family is connected to one of the greatest uncommon treasures of all time and if they don’t find it, their parents lives are forfeit. It’s a race against time as Ivy and Seb attempt to unearth the treasure and rescue their parents.
Despite a few similarities to books like Harry Potter and Neal Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Crooked Sixpence does a great job standing on its own. From the very first page I felt as though I was inside this story that Jennifer Bell brings to life through her vividly written characters and beautifully descriptive world-building. Adding to the visualization are the lovely black and white illustrations that are scattered throughout the book. The loving but at times, combative relationship between Ivy and Seb is completely believable and will resonate with readers who have siblings. As they’re drawn into the incredible underground city of Ludinor they discover that their family isn’t what they thought, and while they’re understandably afraid and confused–especially since they’re being hunted by sinister officers armed with toilet brushes, and travel uncomfortably via a suitcase to a whole new and mysterious world that lies directly under London–their sense of adventure, courage, and determination to save their family eclipses all else. Ludinor and its unique and interesting inhabitants, known as the Uncommoners, are wonderfully brought to life and further flesh out the story. The suspense is perfectly blended with moments of humor which gives the story an air of mischievous fun. The storyline is well plotted and its fast pace had me easily finishing this in one sitting. I believe 9-12 year olds will absolutely love Crooked Sixpence. This is Jennifer Bell’s debut novel and I have to say I’m quite impressed. I’m eagerly anticipating what further adventures await Ivy and Seb!