Reviews for Still Life

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2015 Spring
In this series-ending fifth installment, Olive learns further secrets behind the paintings-as-portals magic of Elsewhere, its origins, and the world's creator. The magic's ability to preserve life indefinitely gets creepy, but characters with silly quirks keep the tone from becoming too dark. Illustrations are shadowy but still manage to make the heroes appear friendly.

Kirkus Reviews 2014 June #2
In the final installment of the Books of Elsewhere series, Olive goes head to head with Aldous McMartin one last time, with the highest stakes yet.Two loose ends plague Olive and company—Aldous is running free somewhere and will inevitably return for revenge, and her good friend Morton has yet to reunite with his parents. After Walter officially moves into Morton’s family home, Morton takes over to restore it to exactly as it was when his family lived there, in preparation for finding his parents. His suspicious, secretive way of going about this leaves Olive struggling to determine which secrets need to be uncovered and which should be left alone. One secret she uncovers is where Aldous has imprisoned Morton’s parents. But adjusting to life outside Elsewhere isn’t always easy for Morton and family. While the devious Aldous closes in on Olive, she discovers one last McMartin family secret. The illustrations solidify mood and heighten tension, and the cast of characters is rather large but colorful. The humor ranges from wry to silly, effectively balanced by the competent, threatening villain. In the end, Olive’s concern is less about defeating Aldous and more about setting everyone else to right.A thoroughly satisfying reward for loyal fans of the series. (Fantasy. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2014 August

Gr 4-7--In this fifth and final book of the series, Olive discovers something unusual on a trip to an art museum. Her journey leads her to uncover how Elsewhere was created, and along the way, she struggles to know whom to trust. The suspenseful and well-realized world that West has created comes to a satisfying conclusion. Now that the series has ended, libraries may wish to purchase it in its entirety. Hand these books to fans of Lemony Snicket, Pseudonymous Bosch, and Angie Sage.

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VOYA Reviews 2014 August
In this final book of the series, brave Olive confronts the nefarious Aldous McMartin, as well as her own fears and limits, as she discovers the roots of Elsewhere and her responsibilities in its discovery and destruction. An art museum field trip makes Olive realize how Aldous has used layers of paint to control his world and imprison his enemies. She reunites Morton with his parents but realizes that his mother, the evasive Mary Nivens, may not be an ally. Olive also finds the mysterious Aurelia McMartin, whom Aldous has imprisoned. Should she trust and release her? Finally, Aldous captures Olive, characterizes her as a villain that no one will miss, and reveals his plan to torture and destroy her. The subsequent battles require all of Olive's bravery and strength, as well as the skills and loyalties of her human and feline friends, to save herself and the Elsewhere inhabitants. But her final challenge is finding balance in a new life for all This final volume emphasizes the importance of friendship and support. Given Olive's distant and clueless parents, Olive can believe Aldous's poisonous accusations, but she reaches beyond the lies and finds that her friends are as willing to risk their lives for her as she is for them. Olive's efforts bring great rewards for herself and her readers. The book is a possible stand-alone, but the first four make it more satisfying. Order the series.--Lucy Schall 5Q 4P M Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.