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Keeper of the Lost Cities Hardcover – October 2, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 183 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-This debut novel is a powerful and appealing package of skillful world-building, fantasy, suspense, mystery, and middle-school relationships. Sophie Foster, a friendless 12-year-old high school senior with a photographic memory, is plagued by the hubbub of other people's thoughts in her brain. She has always known that she is different, but her life changes profoundly when she learns that she is an elf with telepathic and other magical abilities. She is transported away from her human family forever to the elvin world, where the Lost Cities (Atlantis, Shangri-la, etc.) exist and extinct animals are thriving. As Sophie starts at her new school, her concerns about friendships, midterms, crushes, and grades in subjects such as "the Universe," "elementalism," and "alchemy" will hook readers. While navigating her new life, Sophie must solve two mysteries: First, who is setting all those magical-seeming fires in the human world? And second, who could be leaving items in her locker that repeatedly put her in serious danger? The more she learns, the more her memories return, uncovering secrets about her past. The suspenseful climax leads to a satisfying resolution, although Messenger leaves just enough threads hanging for a possible sequel. A slew of interesting and well-drawn characters, careful plotting, and just plain good storytelling will have readers racing through the pages.-Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York Cityα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

After years of contending with unwanted telepathic powers and the feeling that she is not like everyone else, 12-year-old prodigy Sophie Foster discovers that there is a perfectly logical explanation: she is an elf. Moreover, she is an elf who has been hidden among humans, with secret elven information stored in her memory. An encounter with a mysterious boy named Fitz reveals Sophie’s true heritage, and she returns to the elf world, a network of “lost cities” assumed to be mythical by humans. This series opener spends a lot of time world building and establishing Sophie’s new life. Comparisons to Harry Potter are obvious, especially once Sophie starts studying at the exclusive Foxfire Academy to hone her elf abilities. Some mysteries, such as Sophie’s role as a Keeper and why she was embedded amongst humans, remain largely unanswered. A large and varied cast of supporting characters and an intriguing premise contribute to make this an exciting start to a promising series. Grades 4-7. --Kara Dean
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442445939
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442445932
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Adam A. Gaffen on October 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Shannon Messenger.

A name that you should get familiar with. She is an author, and a damn good one.

Her first book - Keeper of the Lost Cities, published by Aladdin on 10/2/2012, is quite a wonderful debut. Chronicling the adventures of young Sophie Foster, whose world is turned upside-down in the Natural History museum, the book is a magical romp through a world of Ms. Messenger's imagination.

No, no spoilers here - that's not fair. But I will say a few things. First, though this is aimed squarely at the YA market, I had NO issues with the writing style at all. It is, simply, well-written. It romps, it rolls, and it pulls you in in about three pages. Look, I'm a quick reader, but I finished this nearly-500 page book in less than two days (during which time I also did.. well, lots of other stuff). Second, the characters feel real. They are unique voices, consistent, and well-defined. And they don't read as 'stock' characters - although Elwin does remind me quite a bit of McCoy (though that could be my background bleeding through).

Finally, and this is the big one for me - the dialogue WORKS. You have read my stuff - I do dialogue instead of narrative. It's how I write. And it's what I like to read. Well, I LOVE what Shannon did with her dialogue. It isn't forced, it isn't stilted - it flows and moves as real speech should and does.

My ONLY quibble with the book is the setting of the academy for the world's kids. It feels too much like Hogwarts. Now, that isn't a terrible thing, and, given the heroine is a 13-year-old girl, I'm not sure HOW you could do a book without incorporating SOME kind of school, but it's the one bit that required a little extra 'suspension of disbelief.' That being said...

Go get this book. And hope that she decides to write another (and another, and another...).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am 9 years old and with my mother's permission to use her account to write the following review:
I really enjoyed the book. I love how suspenseful it is. I loved how all the elves had cool powers. At first, I thought the book wouldn't be very interesting at all. However, it turned out to be the best book I ever read!!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a really terrific story. It got me hooked within a few pages, and made me not want to put it down. I hope there are many (likely) sequels. With the whole Academy thing going on in the book, it reminded me initially of Harry Potter, but this universe spins off in a whole different direction. And so as to not give away ANYTHING, that is all I am going to say. However, I will say one more thing; the best recommendation I an give this book is that I envy those of you that have not read it it, because I already have, but you, lucky readers, still have all the enjoyment of a well written tale to enjoy.

Beyond any enjoyment I got out of this, though, is one more - probably the most important - reason for me to love this book. My eleven year old son is required by his school to read for an hour a day - pretty much anything he wants, within reason - and although he is a great kid and a great student, he hates to read anything he doesn't HAVE to read. I've tried every book I enjoyed as a kid, begged other parents to let me now about stories their kids enjoyed, bought him boatloads of books that have gotten great reviews from others, all to no avail. For most books, he keeps a timer set to go off after exactly 60 minutes! This book, though? He actually ignored the timer, and kept going, reading an hour and a half to two hours every day.

so this is a book that both kids and adults can read and enjoy, and for me, that is the greatest thing about this book. I will definitely be looking for more stories in this universe, and other books written by the author.
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Format: Hardcover
An addictive journey of fun, middle grade flavor, and twists that will keep even the most reluctant MG reader reading!!

The cover reeks (in a good way) of middle grade adventure, swirling in mist from the two characters' expressions to the vintage-looking lamp sprinkling them in light. Just, love LUV this illustration. Kudos to the artist. Here, have some chocolate...seriously.

Sophie is one of the most likable middle grade characters I've ever read. She's wholesome, but real, and holds a sense of adventure just waiting to burst from the pages. But saying that, she also shows a keen aptitude to do what is right and good. Fitz was the same: caring and wanting to do right by Sophie. They're developing relationship is sweet, yet filled with enough spark to give you a chuckle or two or three...

The writing is alive on the page. From a sea scorpion that carriages Sophie around to Fitz teaching her how to travel on a beam of light, this world is the ultimate middle grade playland. It's almost as if Messenger peeked into the head of the average MGer. There were moments, while reading, that I couldn't help but think of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Messenger created inventive scenes and stumbling blocks for both characters and story. So creative.

At every turn, the closer Sophie moves to finding her true purpose, her past, and where her future should lead, new obstacles lie in wait. Scenes play out in full view, like sitting in a movie theater. The more I read the more my mind's eye saw and wanted to see more.

Although MG in nature, a few characters have distinct maturity that, I believe, gives this tale a broader audience, appealing to kids and adults alike.
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