Whatever you do, don't call them fairies. They are Small Persons with Wings, and Mellie's family has the dubious distinction of an ancestral legacy (or curse) of obligation to the Small Persons. As long as the Turpin family holds the Gemmaluna, a magical moonstone that uncovers deception, they must provide a home to the Small Persons. What this means for Mellie is that when she and her parents move from Boston to her deceased grandfather's dumpy inn in a coastal village, they inherit an infestation of artifice-loving Small Persons—and that tribe is rife with discord. Take cranky, squabbling Small Persons, bohemian, sweetly ineffectual parents, a nosy neighbor who happens to be the chief of police and his scrawny, likable son, and Mellie's got her hands full. Booraem's debut,Â The UnnameablesÂ (2008), presented readers with an utterly original American fantasy, and this follow-up, though unrelated except in its examination of creativity, is equally fresh and distinctive. Frequently hysterical dialogue, a hugely sympathetic protagonist and a baroque concatenation of magics and counter-magics will keep readers glued to this smart, earthy and thoughtful tale.Â (Fantasy. 10-14)ÂCopyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
In a fairy story that's wistful, humorous, and clever, Booraem (The Unnameables) suggests that the real world--with its disappointments and failings--is still better than living with illusions. When five-year-old Mellie Turpin tells her kindergarten classmates that there's a fairy living in her bedroom, it leads the Parvi Pennati--a Small Person with Wings---to move out in anger, as well as years of torment and bullying for Mellie. After her estranged grandfather dies and her family inherits an inn and moves, Mellie, now 13, hopes her life will turn around. Unfortunately, the inn is infested with Parvi, and Mellie's parents tell her the family has a thousand-year-old pact to provide a home for the creatures. Before long, Mellie is turned into a frog, a walking mannequin tries to take over the world, and a potential friend learns all about Mellie's previous humiliations. There are serious threads about bullying and alcoholism, and several flawed characters; as in life, many problems are never fully solved, just exchanged for new ones. The theme of making progress, rather than ignoring problems, is a strong one, gently presented. Ages 10-up. (Jan.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC
Gr 5-7--When 13-year-old Mellie Turpin was very young, her best friend was a three-inch-tall Small Person with Wings (or Parvi Pennati--but never call them fairies!) named Fidius. She hasn't seen Fidius since she was in kindergarten, but when her grandfather dies and leaves the family his Parvi-infested inn, she discovers that she's the latest in a long line of Turpins who provides sanctuary for the creatures in return for getting to keep a magical moonstone. They are having problems with their magic, so they want to release the Turpins from their contract and get the moonstone back but no one knows where it is. Mellie, matter-of-fact and slightly bad-tempered, narrates this hilarious tale of these enchanting, annoying little beings who sprinkle their speech with Latin and French phrases and are obsessed with appearances and enamored with high drama and style. Every character, human or Parvi, is drawn with singular care and humor, from the disgracefully clumsy Inepta to Mellie's patient, maybe-new-friend Timmo. Spells turn people into drooling frogs and irascible bonging clocks, the truth-seeing magic of the moonstone turns out to be something of a liability, and Mellie "grows into her grandeur" just in time to save the Parvi as well as her entire family. Readers will share the girl's irritated fondness for the ridiculous and lovable Parvi. A great choice for all who favor funny and intelligent fantasies with quirky characters and an unpredictable, fast-moving plot.--Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library[Page 100]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.