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The Uncommoners #1: The Crooked Sixpence Hardcover – January 31, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Debut author Bell introduces Ivy Sparrow, 11, and her older brother, Seb. The children are staying with their grandmother, who is rushed to the hospital after a fall. Within hours, events start to spiral out of control, with kidnappings, death threats, creepy figures, and a race against time to solve an old mystery. Ivy and Seb are swept into a world of adventure, magic, and intrigue. As the story progresses, they discover that their grandmother is from a secret underground world called Lundinor, under the city of London. The city is filled with magical people and common objects used in uncommon ways. The characters are well-rounded and likable. The language is rich and detailed and helps illuminate the setting. Students will dive right into this journey and not want to come up for air. The illustrations add to the dark and scary tone. VERDICT Fans of classic fantasy with a dash of horror will enjoy this new series starter.—Megan McGinnis, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY
About the Author
Londoner Jennifer Bell began working in children’s books as a specialist bookseller at Foyles, Charing Cross Road, one of the world’s most famous bookstores. After having the privilege of listening to children talk about their favorite books for many years, she started writing a book of her own on her lunch breaks. You can follow Jennifer on Twitter at @jenrosebell.
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Top Customer Reviews
In THE CROOKED SIXPENCE, Ivy and her brother Seb are thrust into the world of magic after their grandmother, Sylvie, goes to the hospital. What follows is a chain reaction of killer shadows, angry policemen, suitcases with secrets, and a marketplace full of secretive people and extraordinary ordinary items.
THE CROOKED SIXPENCE offers a whole new world, reminiscent of Hogwarts. The world-building is done well and I felt completely pulled in to this secret under-London world. In fact, I could barely put the book down. The characters were a bit simplistic in some ways but worked with the overall theme and character of the book to create a believable and engaging world. While many elements are not overly complex, the plot line was distinct and kept me guessing until the end. Bell ties up the loose ends from this story but leaves room for the sequels.
This book contains no obscene language or romance, and the violence is minimal, kept bloodless and semi-vague so the book is suitable for children. I would recommend 8 and older, but the vocabulary may be too complicated for the average 8-year-old. I'm in college and I LOVED it! Readers who like HARRY POTTER or magical children will love this new series.
This book earns 4.5 North of Normal stars!
This is an enjoyable book, with a feisty heroine and an interesting plot. The plot is just convoluted enough to keep a middle grade reader engaged and guessing, without being difficult to follow It is faced paced and should hold the attention of the appropriate aged group.. Bell's descriptions of Ludinor and the explanations of that world are well-written and, while the characters aren't fully fleshed out, they are appealing.
The plot of the Crooked Sixpence relies a great deal on coincidence, and was therefore not believable to this adult reader. I don't know that it would be a problem for the intended audience, though.
There were also several things that were reminiscent of other popular fantasy series, but I can't really hold that against Bell. The very nature of fantasy is full of common tropes; it's impossible for a fantasy writer to be completely original.
Despite it's length (over 300 pages), I think this book is quite suitable--and should be enjoyable for--for the older end of the intended audience.
I found the writing in this to be great. I enjoyed it at all times. And the characters were awesome. I liked Ivy and her brother Seb a whole bunch. There were things I didn't like about how some of the characters were written, felt a bit silly at times, but mostly I liked them all, and enjoyed getting to know them. So interesting.
This book tells the story of eleven year old Ivy. And her fourteen year old brother Seb. And eee, I liked both characters so much. Ivy was adorable. And I loved that this book was from her point of view. I loved that she's smart and kind and just awesome. But I didn't like how she treated one character. Hmph. But besides that, she was awesome. And Seb was a pretty good character too. I'm curious about him. I adored their relationship with each other. Such awesome siblings. They are staying with their grandmother, who just had an accident, and is now going to the hospital. Which starts the whole story. There is so much happening, and bad people are coming after Ivy and Seb, and it's so exciting too. I enjoyed figuring out what all the bad people wanted.
Not going to say too much about the plot, but it's so interesting. Ivy is trying to figure out what happened around forty years ago, when her grandma had a bad accident and lost all her memory of her life before. Because Ivy have just learned what her life was like before the accident, but not why she got hurt. And it was so interesting to try to figure it all out. So much happens in this book. For the most part I loved all of it. There were a lot of exciting moments. And the ending was pretty good too. I liked the mystery of it all.
The plot in this book is set under London, sort of. There is a whole different world under there. Not magic. But like it, even so. There are uncommon objects, which can do amazing things. Not going to describe it, but it was awesome to read about. I liked learning what each item could do. It was exciting. And I really enjoyed the talking bells. They were adorable. Especially Scratch. Liked that tiny bell a bunch. There are also ghosts. Which was interesting. And some other creatures as well. I liked reading about all of them.
The reason for why I'm giving this book three stars is because I had a few issues with some things. I felt like the book was a bit too much like Harry Potter at times, though I did enjoy that, it as just a little bit too much, with the villains and such. But still good. I had some issues with the new boy they meet, Valian. I liked him right away. And wanted to know more of him. But they treat him pretty badly, and I felt like his character could have been done better. Hope that is fixed in book two. I need more of this curious boy.
I just adored some of the characters in this book. Ivy was so sweet. And I liked Seb too. And Valian was my favorite. I just wish I knew more about him; that he had been written a little bit better. But still. I can't help it. I ship him and Ivy, lol. But guessing that won't ever happen, as she's eleven, and he is fifteen. Aw. But still, I hope. There are also lots of other people in this one. Like their grandmother. I liked her. But she wasn't written fully well enough for me. Still, I liked her a lot. And Ethel too. Liked a lot of the others too.
I'm really glad that I read this book. I hadn't heard of it before the publisher sent it to me, ack. So glad that I got it in the mail. Because then I got to read this gorgeous book. I'm really curious about the next books too. Hoping book two will be better at the things I disliked in this one. Fingers crossed. Either way, I'm so excited. Huge thank you to the publisher for sending me this ARC to review while I was in Chicago. The Crooked Sixpence is full of adventure and has such a stunning story. I enjoyed it a lot. You must read it.
This review was first posted on my blog, Carina's Books.