Reading Level: Middle Grade
Length: 272 pages
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC through Edelweiss.com
Rating: 3/5 stars
“Daisy Fitzjohn knows there are two worlds: the outside world and the world of Brightwood Hall, her home–and the only place she’s ever been. Daisy and her mother have everything they need within its magnificent, half-ruined walls. They may not have a computer or phone, but Daisy has all the friends she could want, including a mischievous talking rat named Tar and the ghostly presence of a long-ago explorer who calls herself Frank.
When Daisy’s mother leaves one morning, a strange visitor arrives on the estate, claiming to be a distant cousin, James Gritting. But as the days tick by and Daisy’s mother doesn’t return, Gritting becomes more and more menacing. He wants Brightwood for himself, and he will do anything to get it, unless Daisy, with only her imaginary companions to help her, can stop him.”
This was an okay middle grade mystery novel about a girl named Daisy who lives with her mom in a big old mansion. When Daisy’s mom disappears and a stranger shows up to claim the house, she is left to solve the mystery of her mom’s past and drive the stranger out herself.
This was an okay story. The plot is fairly straight-forward and predictable. The only character you really get to know is Daisy, so there isn’t a lot of interaction with other characters in this book.
The story has a bit of a magical realism feel to it; Daisy can speak to inanimate objects and hear them in return. Although…as the story continues it seems that all of this may just be Daisy’s active imagination. There is a lot about hoarding and mental illness in here as well.
Overall this was an okay story. There’s some mystery and some creepiness but the story is also very predictable. You really only get to know Daisy well and I didn’t find her to be all that engaging. I thought the hoarding her mother did in the form of Day Boxes was interesting. However aside from that there wasn’t a lot here that I found interesting or engaging; it’s all just okay. I will probably completely forget about this book in a couple weeks; it was just kind of run of the mill middle grade mystery and somewhat boring.