Book Review: The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell

Book Review: The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer BellThe Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell
Series: The Uncommoners #1
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on January 31, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Middle Grade
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
4 Stars

Welcome to a world where nothing is quite as it seems…

When their grandmother Sylvie is rushed to the hospital, Ivy Sparrow and her annoying big brother Seb cannot imagine what adventure lies in store. Soon their house is ransacked by unknown intruders, and a very strange policeman turns up on the scene, determined to apprehend them . . . with a toilet brush.

Ivy and Seb make their escape only to find themselves in a completely uncommon world, a secret underground city called Lundinor where ordinary objects have amazing powers. There are belts that enable the wearer to fly, yo-yos that turn into weapons, buttons with healing properties, and other enchanted objects capable of very unusual feats.

But the forces of evil are closing in fast, and when Ivy and Seb learn that their family is connected to one of the greatest uncommon treasures of all time, they must race to unearth the treasure and get to the bottom of a family secret . . . before it’s too late.

Book Review:

THE CROOKED SIXPENCE is the first in a new middle grade fantasy series. The cover blurb calls it “part Tim Burton, part J.K. Rowling,” and I have to say, I agree 100% with that.

From the first page, I was swept along with Ivy into Lundinor, a secret city. In Lundinor, Ivy encounters common objects, such as suitcases or belts, that have uncommon abilities. You travel to another place in a suitcase and belts carry you in the air. It’s like magic to eleven year old Ivy, but she doesn’t have long to wonder about everything. She has to rescue big brother Seb, who was arrested when they arrived in Lundinor. And that’s just the beginning — soon Ivy and Seb are in the thick of solving a decades old mystery in the uncommon city.

I’m explaining it badly, but I quite enjoyed the author’s concept of common objects being uncommon and having special abilities. The explanation for uncommon objects caught me off guard, but as the book went on and I learned more about Lundinor and its citizens, it fit better.

I liked the colorful cast of characters in THE CROOKED SIXPENCE. From Ivy to Granma Sylvie, Ethel, and Violet, everyone was quirky and interesting. I particularly liked that Ivy respected older characters. Granma Sylvie’s amnesia and the Twelfth Night mystery in Lundinor went together very well, and I enjoyed the adventure of learning the truth right along with Ivy. I also have to say, I’ve never read such creepy versions of selkies, and the villains in the book were quite villainous!

Along with the descriptive writing, the illustrations really helped bring THE CROOKED SIXPENCE to life for me. Very rarely do I take much notice of illustrations, but here, I spent time looking at each one, enjoying the little details and the general style. For the first time ever, I want to look for more of an illustrator’s work.

I’m looking forward to the next volume in The Uncommoners series, so that I can return to Lundinor with Ivy and Seb!

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— leeanna

4 Stars
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