The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman (NY: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2010).
Elizabeth hasn't made any friends at her new school, and she's treated like a servant at home, where her stepsister's needs take precedence over hers. Mostly, she feels invisible and ignored, so she's delighted when her history teacher singles her out to apply for a job at the New-York Circulating Material Repository, a library like no other that archives highly unusual objects from every era: tea trays, parasols, desk lamps, even a wig worn by Marie Antoinette! Yet the repository holds even more amazing relics, as Elizabeth soon learns, in the Grimm Collection--magical items from the Grimm Brothers' famous fairy tales, of which Elizabeth is an ardent fan! Moreover, Elizabeth makes some friends among her fellow pages and soon sets out to investigate some mysterious disappearances of objects from the Grimm Collection. Is it magic, something more sinister, or both?
I loved Polly Shulman's awesome first novel, Enthusiasm, so I gladly snatched The Grimm Legacy off the new arrivals shelf at the library. It's a wildly imaginative tale peppered with realistic details, guaranteed to engage readers. Elizabeth is immensely likable and the world of the repository is breathtaking. Ponder going to work and talking to an enchanted mirror or shelving seven-league boots! At the same time, Elizabeth has to deal with the standard problems of trying to fit in and understand her co-workers, even the guys. Especially the guys. Shulman masterfully paces the novel, laying the foundation for the ensuing action that leads to a thrilling and satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended for upper elementary and middle school readers, ages nine and up.
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