In the first book of a fantastic new middle-grade series ‘Tilly and the Boookwanderers‘ we follow Matilda ‘Tilly’ Pages, an eleven-year-old book lover who is cared for by her loving grandfather and grandmother in the five-storey London bookshop Pages & Co. Tilly has lived with her grandparents for as long as she could remember, since she has never met her father and was abandoned by her mother, who disappeared after Tilly’s birth. Tilly adores books and spends her days poring over fantastical book worlds and enthralling literary characters, such as Alice from Alice in Wonderland, and Anne from Anne and the Green Gables, but she is taken aback when both of these characters magically transport themselves out of their books and appear in the bookshop. Along with a school friend Oskar, Tilly will delve into several important literary novels after discovering that Tilly is a bookwanderer, meaning she has the ability to move into her favourite novels. As Tilly and Oskar discover that their beloved book characters are very much real, Tilly will discover the truth about her mysterious past and change her life forever.
After having read many hard-hitting and heavy young adult novels in the past months, Tilly and the Bookwanderers was a refreshingly fantastic middle-grade novel. It can be said that the idea of book characters coming to life is not particularly a new backbone for a novel, as it has been written about previously in Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart or Chris Colfer’s The Land of Stories. However, I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the classic novels with Tilly and Oskar.
I also thought that the plot twists sprinkled throughout the novel kept me on my toes. Tilly is a strong character, and I’m sure that young girls will connect with her inquisitive nature and adventurous spirit.
The one thing I will say that goes against this novel is that the intricate details of the Bookwandering world may confuse some middle-grade readers, as they can be quite complex to wrap your mind around. However, I will say that this novel is thoroughly interesting and impressive.
Rating: 8.5 / 10