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The Water and the Wild

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A green apple tree grows in the heart of Thirsby Square, and tangled up in its magical roots is the story of Lottie Fiske. For as long as Lottie can remember, the only people who seem to care about her are her best friend, Eliot, and the mysterious letter writer who sends her birthday gifts. But now strange things are happening on the island Lottie calls home, and Eliot's A green apple tree grows in the heart of Thirsby Square, and tangled up in its magical roots is the story of Lottie Fiske. For as long as Lottie can remember, the only people who seem to care about her are her best friend, Eliot, and the mysterious letter writer who sends her birthday gifts. But now strange things are happening on the island Lottie calls home, and Eliot's getting sicker, with a disease the doctors have given up trying to cure. Lottie is helpless, useless, powerless—until a door opens in the apple tree. Follow Lottie down through the roots to another world in pursuit of the impossible: a cure for the incurable, a use for the useless, and protection against the pain of loss.


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A green apple tree grows in the heart of Thirsby Square, and tangled up in its magical roots is the story of Lottie Fiske. For as long as Lottie can remember, the only people who seem to care about her are her best friend, Eliot, and the mysterious letter writer who sends her birthday gifts. But now strange things are happening on the island Lottie calls home, and Eliot's A green apple tree grows in the heart of Thirsby Square, and tangled up in its magical roots is the story of Lottie Fiske. For as long as Lottie can remember, the only people who seem to care about her are her best friend, Eliot, and the mysterious letter writer who sends her birthday gifts. But now strange things are happening on the island Lottie calls home, and Eliot's getting sicker, with a disease the doctors have given up trying to cure. Lottie is helpless, useless, powerless—until a door opens in the apple tree. Follow Lottie down through the roots to another world in pursuit of the impossible: a cure for the incurable, a use for the useless, and protection against the pain of loss.

30 review for The Water and the Wild

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nafiza

    The Water and the Wild is about a girl. The girl had a name. The teachers who read roll at Kemble School called off Charlotte G. Fiske, though she preferred to be called Lottie and, out of respect for her wishes, that is what the author will call her, too. Unlike Mrs. Yates, who had prematurely wrinkled and stooped like wilted spinach, Lottie looked much younger than her twelve years. She had grown up to have a tangled mess of lemony hair, a face smattered with freckles, and gray eyes that fright The Water and the Wild is about a girl. The girl had a name. The teachers who read roll at Kemble School called off Charlotte G. Fiske, though she preferred to be called Lottie and, out of respect for her wishes, that is what the author will call her, too. Unlike Mrs. Yates, who had prematurely wrinkled and stooped like wilted spinach, Lottie looked much younger than her twelve years. She had grown up to have a tangled mess of lemony hair, a face smattered with freckles, and gray eyes that frightened the locals. Lottie has a friend, in fact, he is the only friend she has. His name is Eliot and he is a wonderfully fun person to spend time and plan for the future with. Apart from one thing: Eliot is sick with a disease that no doctor can diagnose but that, all agree, is incurable. When Eliot’s father tells Lottie that Eliot has only weeks left, Lottie panics. She has been receiving birthday gifts every year from someone with bad handwriting but a good heart (anyone who gives good gifts has to have a good heart) and she had asked that person to cure Eliot. However, this request must have been too difficult for whoever is sending Lottie gifts because he or she did not send Eliot a cure. Then Lottie is attacked by a “homicidal tree,” and rescued by someone who leaves a handprint on her arm. When she gets home, there is a rude girl who casts slurs on her fashion choice but leads her down the apple tree that grows outside Lottie’s window and into its roots. Lottie finds herself on an amazing adventure though her main objective is to find a cure for Eliot, her only friend. This book is brilliant. I don’t say that easily so you know I mean it. There are many things to love about The Water and the Wild but as the theme for this month is friendship, let’s focus on that. Lottie does not quite understand what Eliot’s father means when he says that Eliot has only weeks left but she doesn’t like how the words make her feel. Eliot, for his part, presents such a heartbreakingly courageous face to his impending end that I was already blinking back tears while chanting “No, no, no, no.” However, this friendship aside, it is Lottie’s gradual acceptance of and fondness for the three fae beings she meets in the fae world that won me over. There is a boy sprite, Oliver, whose eyes change colour according to his changing moods. He bruises people with a simple touch and has to live being careful not to come in contact with any other living being for fear of causing them harm. He quotes poetry as a way to express himself. His sister, Adelaide, also known as (much to her displeasure) Ada, is prickly, suspicious and very conscious of her place and position in society. She is very hostile to Lottie because of the upheavals Lottie’s very presence causes in her life. Then there is Fife Dulcet, a Puck-like creature, half-wisp and half-sprite who has a lot of anger in him because of his mixed heritage. His keen or magical ability is knowing exactly the right thing to say in any situation. As such he is often the one to defuse tense situations or talk them out of hairy places. Lottie is as much an outsider in the fae world as she is in the human world. She has no keen or magical abilities and she doesn’t even know her own history–something that other people seem to be well acquainted with. However, Lottie is willing to endure everything–all the slurs, the difficulties, the danger–if it means that she can get Eliot a cure for his disease. I loved the world Ormsbee created for the story. Lottie and her new friends go on a journey through wild woods in order to petition the Southerly king for the return of Oliver and Ada’s father, the head healer who has been wrongly accused of treason. They journey through the plague-ridden areas of the wisp territory in order to meet Fife’s mother, the queen or as she is known, the Seamstress of the wisps. Lottie survives an attack by a Barghest and almost has her soul cleaved from her body. As I said, a lot of adventures are had. Friendships are forged and friendships are tested. The brilliant thing about The Water and the Wild are the allusions it makes to different children’s novels. For example, Lottie’s travels through the apple tree’s roots are reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the heroic journey Lottie and her friends go on reminded me of Bilbo Baggins and his journey with the dwarfs. Every fae creature in the book has a genda, that is a bird, which called to mind Phillip Pullman’s daimons. However, as much as The Water and the Wild alludes to other novels, its charm is very much its own. Lottie is a wonderful character; she is brave, silly, eccentric, fiercely loyal and vulnerable. She makes mistakes but is not afraid to apologise. The urgency granted to the narrative by Eliot’s sickness is matched by the quick pace of the novel. While there is introspection aplenty (and angst too, thank you Fife), it does not overwhelm the narrative as action is given primary importance. The despotic king and the intriguing twist surprised me in a good way. The ending is brilliant: subtle yet reassuring. And the best news? There is a sequel planned. The novel is complete on its own and has no hated cliffhanger but there is a potential for more and I love that the potential is going to be explored. Wow, this review, if you can call it that, is long. Just one more thing. The Water and the Wild contains narrative elements that render it enjoyable to readers of all ages. While the young reader will enjoy the story at face value, the older reader will be able to understand and appreciate the subtext involving social hierarchy and the debate for free access to antidotes and vaccines of fatal diseases. The novel dresses up contemporary topics in fantastic garb. For example, consider the debates around medicare in the US. In the novel, the sprites refuse to share the antidote or cure for the plague with the wisps who are slowly dying out…which is yet another very pertinent subject: genocide of a people and culture. If you let a people die out even when you have the ability to save them, aren’t you, too, as responsible for their deaths as what directly kills them? The novel asks this question as well as several others. The Water and the Wild has a tremendous lot to offer any child or adult. I recommend it strongly.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah

    Lottie Fiske is a stubborn girl, but a sweet one. She seems so ordinary with her lemony hair, periwinkle coat, and cranky guardian, but within her is more gumption and kindness and bravery than even she knows. And outside is a world more miraculous still. Her secret correspondent, who grants birthday wishes and leaves them inside the old apple tree, is only the beginning of her introduction to this wondrous world (or worlds). All she has to do is ask and he complies. So, when her best friend's s Lottie Fiske is a stubborn girl, but a sweet one. She seems so ordinary with her lemony hair, periwinkle coat, and cranky guardian, but within her is more gumption and kindness and bravery than even she knows. And outside is a world more miraculous still. Her secret correspondent, who grants birthday wishes and leaves them inside the old apple tree, is only the beginning of her introduction to this wondrous world (or worlds). All she has to do is ask and he complies. So, when her best friend's sickness brings him to the brink of death, she dares to ask for the biggest kind of wish, and determines to do anything to save him, even if it means danger and adventure. Lottie's story is full of magic and wishes and poetry, which is exactly why I loved it. If these are the elements you look for in your books, I think you will love it too. It's not a story for the cynical, but one for the hopeful. It's a fairytale for the young and the older. Ormsbee may be a new writer, but don't let that fool you. Her writing is elegant and well-crafted. Her characters are real and fully-imagined. My only wish is to find out more about what happens with these characters after their adventure. I'm certain there are more adventures in store. Perhaps, if I ask nicely, Ormsbee will grant me this one and leave it for me in a box in the old apple tree. A girl can hope. -Rebekah

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    This book is richly imagined with such compelling characters and high stakes. I'm in awe of the author's storytelling and look forward to more!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Waugh

    The way stories used to feel--enchanted.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    meets meets in The Water and the Wild; it's one of the better middle grade books I've read in a long time. It's a novel about friendship, love and adventure, all written amazingly and accompanied by beautiful illustrations. All the characters are likeable in their own way, and Lottie and Eliot's friendship is really powerful and intense; they'd do anything for each other and it's not easy to find characters like that in children's books these days. Every character was original, an meets meets in The Water and the Wild; it's one of the better middle grade books I've read in a long time. It's a novel about friendship, love and adventure, all written amazingly and accompanied by beautiful illustrations. All the characters are likeable in their own way, and Lottie and Eliot's friendship is really powerful and intense; they'd do anything for each other and it's not easy to find characters like that in children's books these days. Every character was original, and the book has a vivid amount of vocabulary unlike the limited vocab of most modern kid's books. It was really nostalgic for me to read this; The Water in the Wild is the way children's books should be written, the way they used to be written - up until they were replaced with pre-prescribed nonsense like The Hunger Games and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Reading The Water and the Wild has really restored my faith in today's generation - hopefully it'll inspire younger readers to dare to dream and imagine, and to be themselves.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I picked this up on a whim in a bookstore without having heard anything about it because the cover design was just beautiful- they don't give dodgy books covers this lovely. But even with the sweet cover and charming blurb this was an absolutely wonderful surprise. It feels like a timeless middle grade read, fitting in with the likes of Frances Hodgson Burnett and E. Nesbit, with the powerful mix of magic and strength and main characters that make you go "awww yeaaaaah!" because they are real lit I picked this up on a whim in a bookstore without having heard anything about it because the cover design was just beautiful- they don't give dodgy books covers this lovely. But even with the sweet cover and charming blurb this was an absolutely wonderful surprise. It feels like a timeless middle grade read, fitting in with the likes of Frances Hodgson Burnett and E. Nesbit, with the powerful mix of magic and strength and main characters that make you go "awww yeaaaaah!" because they are real little people, with flaws that are addressed and accepted, not brushed under the rug. There is a main character that has frequent panic attacks, but they are treated with such respect by the other characters who just wait it out with her and accept it as part of who she is. They aren't painted to be a weakness at all, but her resilience to trauma throughout the book is praised and (view spoiler)[in the end Lottie turns her struggle into her greatest strength. (hide spoiler)] I mean !! I am just a lightening bolt of excitement and love for these flawed and loveable characters. The one or two slightly more modern references really threw me, because I was so thoroughly in the mindset that this book could be from 100 years ago. It certainly deserves to become a timeless classic - I absolutely cannot wait to read more from this incredibly talented new author.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kate Matson

    4.5 Summary From Goodreads: For as long as Lottie Fiske can remember, the only people who seem to care about her have been her best friend, Eliot, and the mysterious letter-writer who sends her birthday gifts. But now strange things and people are arriving on the island Lottie calls home, and Eliot’s getting sicker, with a disease the doctors have given up trying to cure. Lottie is helpless, useless, powerless. And then a door opens in the apple tree. Follow Lottie down through the apple roots to an 4.5 Summary From Goodreads: For as long as Lottie Fiske can remember, the only people who seem to care about her have been her best friend, Eliot, and the mysterious letter-writer who sends her birthday gifts. But now strange things and people are arriving on the island Lottie calls home, and Eliot’s getting sicker, with a disease the doctors have given up trying to cure. Lottie is helpless, useless, powerless. And then a door opens in the apple tree. Follow Lottie down through the apple roots to another world—a world of magic both treacherous and beautiful—in pursuit of the impossible: a cure for the incurable, a use for the useless, and protection against the pain of loss. Plot: I really enjoyed this originally fun book. At the beginning, I noticed very vague similarities to Alice In Wonderland, which made it super fun. At first, I wasn't that into the premise of the book, but all the creativity and characters drew me in almost immediately. I have to admit, the pacing was a bit iffy at times, but it didn't really effect the overall story. And the world building was spectacular. It was confusing at first, but I caught on quick. I thought it was super original about the five senses, where each character had a sense that was extra strong. (TBH, I forgot the proper names so that's why I'm vaguely explaining this). Characters: K.E. Ormsbee does a great job of writing lovable characters. Over the course of the story, I got more and more attached to the characters I now know and love. At the start, Lottie seemed immature and selfish. But she quickly overcame that, and I think I'll see a lot of future development for her in the next book. Also, I love love love Fife and Ollie. Their characters were super goofy (especially Fife), and I think they had more depth than Lottie. Overall & Recommendations: This was such a quirky, middle grade read, and I'm so glad I won a giveaway for this book. The plot was original, and the world building was such a delight to read about. And the characters were so likable, I can't wait to read more about them. I definitely recommend this to 3rd+. Memorable Quotes: “Eliot isn't like anyone I know. He's just Eliot. And even if he isn't refined, he knows how to live. That's why I'm not about to let him die.” “You might have a little trouble waking me," Fife told Adelaide. "I'm a very sound sleeper." "No worries," Adelaide said sweetly. "I'll just kick your face till you come to.”

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    This and other reviews can be found at wovenwithwords. I received the book from the author, and this is an honest review. The Water and the Wild is a children's fantasy book. It follows Lottie as she attempts to navigate a new, fantastical world where they have keens (powers that allow them to have super hearing, taste, etc.) in hopes of curing the incurable, or, in her case, her best friend Elliot's disease. With three new friends, Lottie Fiske is left to deal with learning about a lot of new thi This and other reviews can be found at wovenwithwords. I received the book from the author, and this is an honest review. The Water and the Wild is a children's fantasy book. It follows Lottie as she attempts to navigate a new, fantastical world where they have keens (powers that allow them to have super hearing, taste, etc.) in hopes of curing the incurable, or, in her case, her best friend Elliot's disease. With three new friends, Lottie Fiske is left to deal with learning about a lot of new things, and deciding if saving Elliot comes before everything else. I just want to start out saying that Orsmbee's characterization is on POINT. All of her characters have distinct personalities that help move the narrative along nicely, and they bicker and argue and help each other, which I find is great. They have failings, and they also grow as the narrative progresses, learning to trust each other and get over natural prejudices that arise from being from different sides. Lottie is stubborn and quirky, and loyal to a fault, and each challenge is met a fiery passion to continue on and help her friend. It's easy to fall into the magical world with Lottie and not want to return to the real world. The storytelling is compelling, always moving forward, not growing stagnant. Having a magical keen isn't all fun and games, either because Orsmbee tackles the idea that not all keens are welcome with Oliver, a shy poet of a sprite (I can’t pick a favorite character, they’re all so good, but I do adore Ollie a lot). The only failing I found was the pacing at the end (mostly because I just didn't want it to end!). It felt a little rushed as the book came to a conclusion, I kept looking at how many pages I had left and thinking about how many questions I had unanswered. It still came together nicely in the end, but I can't wait to read the next one (I think there’s a next one). I hope that we can learn more about the Wisps and the Seamstress because they were a compelling side story that I'd to learn more about. If you love magical stories that have a quirky side, this book is for you. It has fantasy, friendship, adventure, and a unique voice that will make you hug it like I did.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    OMG! This book sets up such a original and amazing fantasy world full of people and sprites that can do fascinating things. The whole novel was suspenseful and lighthearted and throughout the story you really see every side of Lottie! I can't wait to read the rest of the series!!

  10. 5 out of 5

    stefiereads

    What I love about this book is...... EVERYTHING. Kathryn Ormsbee, you got me! I swear, this book is sooooo sooooo rich in imagination. So wild. and I am blown away. It is so easy to love this story, seriously. I mean, the way that she describes things, "Her touch felt like a trickle of cold rain" or "The scents of flowers grew stronger on the night air, and so did new smells of pine, of smoke, and of fresh-fallen water." HOW BEAUTIFUL! DANG IT. It makes me want to follow these kids, wherever th What I love about this book is...... EVERYTHING. Kathryn Ormsbee, you got me! I swear, this book is sooooo sooooo rich in imagination. So wild. and I am blown away. It is so easy to love this story, seriously. I mean, the way that she describes things, "Her touch felt like a trickle of cold rain" or "The scents of flowers grew stronger on the night air, and so did new smells of pine, of smoke, and of fresh-fallen water." HOW BEAUTIFUL! DANG IT. It makes me want to follow these kids, wherever they go. I mean, walking through webs? World under the apple trees? BRING ME THERE NOW. Characters? I am in love with all of the main characters. Lottie, a girl that suffer from panic attacks, but always fights backs. She is fearless, and smart, and forgiving. Elliot, a boy who is sick, and no doctor can heal him. He is the only person who understand Lottie, and always there for her. Lottie and Eliot friendship is something that comforting me. I love their friendship. Oliver, a boy who loves poetry and so mysterious that I want to get to know better of. Adelaide, a girl who can come across as mean and rude most of the time, but to put my place on her shoes, I can understand why she is act that way. and Fife, a boy who is so caring and funny. This story is about friendship, and I really want to be their friends if I could! 10/5 stars YOU GUYS MAKE SURE TO INCLUDE THIS BOOK ON YOUR TBR LIST! NO YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS! P.S. Thank you Kathryn, for this giveaway gift! I can't wait to read the second book! <3

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laurie McKay

    I want to read the next book! While this story is nice and complete, there's more I want to know about the characters and about the world of sprites and wisps. I want to know what happens to Lottie, Fife, Oliver, Ada, and Eliot next. This is a great book with a magical and dangerous world and with likable characters. I want to spend more time with them and their enchanted land. And I want to root shoot.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    An incredibly fun and creative middle grade fantasy starring a cast of characters that I didn't want to leave by the time I turned the final page. This book has heart and a tongue-in-cheek charm that recalled some of the great books in the genre that came before it (THE HOBBIT, BREADCRUMBS) while simultaneously feeling wholly original. Very recommended!

  13. 5 out of 5

    David

    This book began well. The writing was fresh, and the feel of the world was interesting, but a few chapters in and the quality faded. The main weaknesses: 1. The book needs editing. When Ormsbee writes dialogue in particular, the artifice never quite goes away. The reader should be able to forget the writing and feel like the conversation is natural, but to me, it felt contrived, and much of it seemed to be an excuse to provide background (which is okay, but it felt like that was what it was doing This book began well. The writing was fresh, and the feel of the world was interesting, but a few chapters in and the quality faded. The main weaknesses: 1. The book needs editing. When Ormsbee writes dialogue in particular, the artifice never quite goes away. The reader should be able to forget the writing and feel like the conversation is natural, but to me, it felt contrived, and much of it seemed to be an excuse to provide background (which is okay, but it felt like that was what it was doing). 2. The danger and risk feel small, and I never felt very invested. Perhaps this had to do with its intended younger audience, but for me (admittedly an adult), I wasn't on pins and needles. 3. (SPOILER) The ending was unsatisfying and too abrupt. Ormsbee owes her readers more of an explanation of just what Lottie's keen is. The ability to heal? I was under the impression that it would be the ability to command. In any case, I left confused. And the epilogue was also unclear. Why is there no apple tree any more? Where is Lottie? What does her note mean? (The title, btw, is still mysterious to me.) Good things about the book: 1. Ormsbee's voice starts off as charming and she can be quite funny. 2. Ormsbee's fantasy world starts off pretty fresh. I like that it has a feel of a time period different from the typical medieval backdrop; this feels more renaissance, maybe? The background history is interesting, and the wisps are especially attractive, if a bit elvish. 3. I like that Ormsbee uses poetry throughout. Anyone trying to introduce poetry to children deserves applause. Not a terrible book, but not a strong one either.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I absolutely LOVED this book. It was so quirky and wonderfully written, and I loved the characters. I immediately identified with Lottie, the strange little girl who doesn't quite seem to fit in and who has panic attacks quite frequently. I saw a lot of myself in her, and I loved her unique personality. If I had to pick a favorite character, however, it would probably be the mischievous Fife. He was just so snarky and fun. I really can't hate on any of the characters though; they all had wonderfu I absolutely LOVED this book. It was so quirky and wonderfully written, and I loved the characters. I immediately identified with Lottie, the strange little girl who doesn't quite seem to fit in and who has panic attacks quite frequently. I saw a lot of myself in her, and I loved her unique personality. If I had to pick a favorite character, however, it would probably be the mischievous Fife. He was just so snarky and fun. I really can't hate on any of the characters though; they all had wonderful little quirks (like Ada's snootiness and Ollie's penchant for quoting poetry). Characters are perhaps my favorite part of any story, and these were fantastically written and unique characters. I also enjoyed the tone of the book, and how Lottie traveling down the apple tree was very similar to Alice's descent into Wonderland. As an Alice in Wonderland fan, I loved that this book was similar in style. I also loved the idea of gengas, as I'm a total bird nut and would love to have a magical bird familiar myself. Trouble was adorable, and I like that even he was given a distinct personality (one that matched Lottie's very well). In the end, all I can say is that I hope this book gets a sequel, because I loved everything about it and I really want to hear more about these characters.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dani St-Onge (Literary Lion)

    Make sure to check out http://betterbooks.tumblr.com/! Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was received through Library Thing’s Early Reviewers program. "Existing can be brave enough some days, don't you think?" Lottie Fiske has only one friend, Elliot. Two if you include apple trees. Three if you include a mysterious letter writer who sends her gifts on her birthday. This year Lottie has only one request, she wants Elliot cured of his incurable sickness. Getting the cure might be a little more c Make sure to check out http://betterbooks.tumblr.com/! Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was received through Library Thing’s Early Reviewers program. "Existing can be brave enough some days, don't you think?" Lottie Fiske has only one friend, Elliot. Two if you include apple trees. Three if you include a mysterious letter writer who sends her gifts on her birthday. This year Lottie has only one request, she wants Elliot cured of his incurable sickness. Getting the cure might be a little more complicated than she hoped. Through an apple tree and into another world Lottie will have to brave magic, kings and beast in order to get a cure for the otherwise incurable. A very sweet, whimsical adventure. It glides over heavier themes, perhaps leaving out some of the weight they could have been given. However there’s only one very noticeable deus ex machina, and the rest of the story is quite enjoyable. Lottie is a wonderful female heroine, strong and brave without sacrificing her emotion. The three supporting heroes are all vastly interesting and the world is neatly built in the short time the story spans. The ending feels a little rushed but it’s a quite a lovely novel.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Angelique Miller

    Wow. Wowwww. I'm amazed at this book. But, first of all, just look at that cover!!! Talk about eye-catching! All aesthetics aside, the actual storyline was completely and utterly captivating. I was swept away into Lottie's world of friendships, magic, and loyalty. Now, I can't write a review about this book without mentioning FIFE!!!! Such a fun, charismatic character, and he made me laugh several times throughout this series. By faaaar my favorite character. I cannot recommend this book enough. Wow. Wowwww. I'm amazed at this book. But, first of all, just look at that cover!!! Talk about eye-catching! All aesthetics aside, the actual storyline was completely and utterly captivating. I was swept away into Lottie's world of friendships, magic, and loyalty. Now, I can't write a review about this book without mentioning FIFE!!!! Such a fun, charismatic character, and he made me laugh several times throughout this series. By faaaar my favorite character. I cannot recommend this book enough. Everyone should read it at least once in their life, in my opinion. I need to get my sister to read this, she'd love it as much as I do, if not more. In some ways she even reminds me of Lottie! If you're debating whether or not this one is worth it, I say read it!!! (my new favorite color is periwinkle!)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Lottie, who thinks of herself as an ordinary girl, ends up on a magical adventure to save her best friend Elliot. Looking for a cure for his illness, Lottie finds a door in the apple tree. Going through it brings her to a magical land and the adventure of her life. Lottie meets some other children who are trying to save their father. They all set off for a distant land on a journey of danger, betrayal, and magic. As she learns more about her escorts, she also learns about her deceased parents an Lottie, who thinks of herself as an ordinary girl, ends up on a magical adventure to save her best friend Elliot. Looking for a cure for his illness, Lottie finds a door in the apple tree. Going through it brings her to a magical land and the adventure of her life. Lottie meets some other children who are trying to save their father. They all set off for a distant land on a journey of danger, betrayal, and magic. As she learns more about her escorts, she also learns about her deceased parents and more about the letters and gifts she receives on her birthday every year. Adventure, magic, friendship, and learning about yourself and what you can do when needed are what make this book a great read. DRC from Edelweiss

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    So magical! I absolutely adore all of the characters and being a part of their journey. Harry Potter was probably the last children's series I read, and TW&TW is exceptional like both HP and Chronicles of Narnia. I've read/heard the first chapter quite a few times and never get tired of it. Can't wait for the sequel! So magical! I absolutely adore all of the characters and being a part of their journey. Harry Potter was probably the last children's series I read, and TW&TW is exceptional like both HP and Chronicles of Narnia. I've read/heard the first chapter quite a few times and never get tired of it. Can't wait for the sequel!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Izzy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The story was slow the first couple of chapters and I didn’t like the ending. I felt like the ending was rushed and it didn’t make much sense. It was also a little unsatisfying. But other than that I enjoyed it immensely. I liked all the characters except Adelaide. She was annoying and I don’t understand why she doesn’t like Fife.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gail Nall

    LOVE! This is such a richly-imagined book, with a world that's so easy to fall into. I didn't want to leave! I adored the characters, Lottie in particular. And the use of language is just *swoon*...it's amazingly well-written. Highly recommended!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brianna Belbin

    Ormsbee does a fantastic job with this story! She created a magical atmosphere and enchanting characters. On Lottie’s adventures she discovers many things about herself, a new world, and forges new friendships. The Water and the Wild reminded me of a mash up of many different children’s books, but it was still unique enough to be its own. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series to see what happens next! Nigel has an amazing talent of bringing this story and everything in it to life. His perf Ormsbee does a fantastic job with this story! She created a magical atmosphere and enchanting characters. On Lottie’s adventures she discovers many things about herself, a new world, and forges new friendships. The Water and the Wild reminded me of a mash up of many different children’s books, but it was still unique enough to be its own. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series to see what happens next! Nigel has an amazing talent of bringing this story and everything in it to life. His performance made me feel like I was actually in the book with the characters and along for the adventure. He does different accents and voices for each character and flows flawlessly between all of them. The majority of the sound effects blended well enough with the audio, but I found some of it distracting and harder to focus on the story. I wouldn’t mind listening to more audiobooks preformed by Nigel Peever! *I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Megan (ReadingRover)

    This is a wonderful story about Lottie Fiske a supposedly ordinary orphan on a quest through a magical world looking for an impossible cure to save her one and only friend. The story is about friendship, perseverance and finding your place in the world. There is a winding plot, characters with depth and a fantastically built world. There were times where the story lagged a bit in the middle but not too much. Listening to the audiobook was like being a part of a fairytale. It is something that sh This is a wonderful story about Lottie Fiske a supposedly ordinary orphan on a quest through a magical world looking for an impossible cure to save her one and only friend. The story is about friendship, perseverance and finding your place in the world. There is a winding plot, characters with depth and a fantastically built world. There were times where the story lagged a bit in the middle but not too much. Listening to the audiobook was like being a part of a fairytale. It is something that should not be missed out on. It’s produced with full sound effects which make it fully immersive. The narrator did an amazing job with all the different voices and accents. He suited the story well. The audio production of this book is a masterpiece! I loved listening to it! I would like to thank the author/narrator/publisher for generously providing me with a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an unbiased and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Patrick

    This review (and others) can be seen in all its proper formatting glory on my blog Beauty and the Bookshelf. 4.5 stars! I first heard about The Water and the Wild when the cover popped up on my Twitter feed, and I immediately went "PRETTY COVER WHAT IS THIS BOOK I MUST HAVE IT." For months I pined for this book and then a copy fell into my hands, and I was able to read the book and fall down a magical apple tree and into a world full of fantasies. I hyped myself up a bit for this book, but it fort This review (and others) can be seen in all its proper formatting glory on my blog Beauty and the Bookshelf. 4.5 stars! I first heard about The Water and the Wild when the cover popped up on my Twitter feed, and I immediately went "PRETTY COVER WHAT IS THIS BOOK I MUST HAVE IT." For months I pined for this book and then a copy fell into my hands, and I was able to read the book and fall down a magical apple tree and into a world full of fantasies. I hyped myself up a bit for this book, but it fortunately did not disappoint, and neither was that cover deceiving. The Water and the Wild is about one Lottie Fiske, who has spunk and stubbornness a la Junie B. Jones, Ramona Quimby, and Hook's Revenge's Jocelyn Hook. (Though I don't know if they'd all be friends or totally clash.) Every year for her birthday, Lottie places a wish in the box in the apple tree, and it is eventually granted by a person known only as the letter-writer. Lottie lives in Thirsby Square with her wretched adoptive mother, and her only reprieve is her best friend Eliot Walsch. But Eliot is dying of an incurable disease, so Lottie asks the letter-writer (who's the only person to know about her parents or tell her anything about them, and who left her a note on the back of a picture of her parents that says "If you should ever need anything, write back") to save her best friend. For some time Lottie hears nothing about her request--until some oddish children show up in Thirsby Square and Lottie finds herself falling down an apple tree. And so we--and Lottie--end up in New Albion, an alternate, magical version of New Kemble, where Lottie resided in the real world. New Albion is divided by the Northerly and Southerly courts and is filled with sprites, Barghests, gengas, will o' the wisps, magnificent oddities, and a not-so-nice king. Long story short, Lottie ends up on a mission of sorts as she tries to save her dear Eliot, who's nearing the end. But she's not alone. With her she has Adelaide Wilfer, a slightly snooty girl who has extremely good hearing; Adelaide's poetry spewing brother Oliver Wilfer, who has a little talent-esque thing of his own (aside from over half of what he says being poetry, and being awfully nice); and Fife Dulcet, a floating Northerly boy who reminds me an awful lot of Peter Pan (I mean that in a very good way) and has quite the interesting bit of magical talent-thing himself, and he's probably my favorite character in the entire book. (And who I seriously hardcore shipped with Lottie. The shipping in Middle Grade novels is strong.) On their journey, the quartet faces a great deal of things, and it's quite the adventure to be on. And by far, one of the standouts in The Water and the Wild is the fantastic characters, who I just adore. The world in this debut novel is quite interesting, There are bits that remind me of Wonderland, which was an inspiration for the book. (I interviewed the author here, if you want more info.) One setting I kept picturing as Rivendell from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and there was another that reminded a bit of Lemony Snicket's The Bad Beginning and perhaps a house or two in the Harry Potter series. Some elements seem familiar, yes, but it's all told in a way that keeps the story pretty original and lets it stand alone. And really, the world is quite simple, from the outside; I wouldn't call the fantasy very obvious or anything. But it's once the world is explored and sick creatures try to beckon you to them so they can steal your body, or vines capture you, or animals do un-animal-like things, that you start to see all the magic it has. It was one thing after another, but it wasn't jam-packed; it was an adventure full of all kinds of wondrous things. Though The Water and the Wild is technically a Middle Grade novel, it's most certainly a book that can be enjoyed by all ages. (And really, who wouldn't want to sit and drool over that cover for hours?) It's reminiscent of so many fairy tales we grew up reading and watching, and is like one itself, and I think that adds to its appeal and enjoyment factor. And there isn't really even anything bad about it. (Except that it ended. I NEED THE SEQUEL RIGHT NOW.) The story was good and compelling and oh so magical. The writing was full of voice and excellent word choice and was therefore quite good. And the characters, they are wonderful. The Water and the Wild deals with loss and family and friendship and getting attacked by wolf-like creatures, but at its heart it's a lovely little tale about a venturesome girl and a group of magical children (and some birds living in pockets) who embark on an enchanted adventure to save one dying boy (and some other things, too). Really, it's quite wild. I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, and that in no way sways my opinion of the book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    The Water and the Wild is described as being for ages 8 to 12—but that greatly underestimates its charms. This novel travels between present day mediocrity and timeless fantasy laced with both menace and magic. Our present-day heroine, Lottie Fiske, is an orphan being raised by a guardian who cares little (really, not at all) for her. Lottie’s a poor fit in the local school because, “She had the audacity to not be very pretty or rich or even stupid, and at least one of the qualities was essentia The Water and the Wild is described as being for ages 8 to 12—but that greatly underestimates its charms. This novel travels between present day mediocrity and timeless fantasy laced with both menace and magic. Our present-day heroine, Lottie Fiske, is an orphan being raised by a guardian who cares little (really, not at all) for her. Lottie’s a poor fit in the local school because, “She had the audacity to not be very pretty or rich or even stupid, and at least one of the qualities was essential for a girl.” She’s bullied by the popular crowd and fantasizes with her best friend Eliot about winning scholarships and leaving their small town forever. Unfortunately, Eliot’s always-poor health is worsening, and he may not live long enough to achieve their dream. The fantasy world is Albion—a place populated by sprites, each of whom has a keen and a genga. A keen is a special talent related to one of the senses that allows a sprite to perceive the world with great intensity. A sprite with a taste keen can taste the words used by those around him to determine the motives behind those words. A sprite with a hearing keen is able to listen at great distances: through walls, in other buildings, even, with the right training, at distances of hundreds of miles. A genga is a bird companion each sprite is born with, and each genga is able to provide a particular kind of aid to its owner. Unfortunately, Albion is beset by political turmoil that constantly threatens violence. The Southern King and the Northern Rebels each hope to overcome the other. Caught between these two forces are the Wisps, who are dying of a plague. The Southerly Court has a cure for the plague and innoculates its own citizens against it, but “the ingredients are rare. [Southerlies] don’t have enough to hand out to everyone.” As one bored Southerly explains, “[Wisps will] go extinct. Nearly a quarter are dead as it is. By the time [we Southerlies] are grown, there won’t be any more wisps left on the Isle.” Lottie, searching for a cure for Eliot, finds herself in Albion where she’s hunted by parties on all sides who believe she’s the last of the Fiskes, the family that once ruled Albion. Albion isn’t necessarily any kinder than Lottie’s home town, but with the help of two sprites and a wisp halfling, who may or may not truly be her friends, Lottie sets out to find a cure for Eliot. The pacing of this novel is simultaneously gentle and urgent. Lottie gradually comes to learn more about herself and about Albion, but at the same time, she needs to accomplish her goal in a just a few days if there’s to be any hope for Eliot. One feels compelled to continue reading, but is able to savor the story at the same time. Even if you’re nowhere near ages 8 to 12, The Water and the Wild will provide you with an experience that both reminds you of your own world and that transports you to another world entirely.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    In "The Water and the Wild," K.E. Ormsbee places the archetypal undervalued orphan prodigy (think Harry Potter) within steps of an apple tree that serves as a portal through which she can travel to another world full of wisps, sprites, and political intrigue. The enchanting parallel universe features cleverly and imaginatively drawn humanoid communities, magic, and scenery. Unfortunately, the book isn't perfect. With the exception of an unavailable father figure and a few one dimensional strange In "The Water and the Wild," K.E. Ormsbee places the archetypal undervalued orphan prodigy (think Harry Potter) within steps of an apple tree that serves as a portal through which she can travel to another world full of wisps, sprites, and political intrigue. The enchanting parallel universe features cleverly and imaginatively drawn humanoid communities, magic, and scenery. Unfortunately, the book isn't perfect. With the exception of an unavailable father figure and a few one dimensional stranger-heroes, every character is wounded in some way. This is to be expected of a troupe of adolescents and certainly gives middle readers something to relate to; but still, one strong (and preferably female) character would have been nice. The plot is not without holes. Ormsbee’s foreshadowing is a little too heavy-handed, allowing the reader neither surprise nor a sense of accomplishment in anticipating turns of events. And the characters and story simply didn't call me to return each time I put the book down. Now, you might be saying to yourself, "This is the most negative review marked 'I liked it,' that I've ever read," and that's because Ormsbee lays the groundwork here for what turns out to be a lovely and engaging series. "The Water and the Wild" didn’t win my heart as a stand-alone book, but I do recommend it. It’s certainly not a slog, and it’s a prerequisite to the sequel that shines, the characters having grown into themselves and that strong female figure having arrived. Moreover, Ormsbee’s prose occasionally wows: “That is a cure that took me a year to perfect. I had to capture ten laughs on a rainy day and all the ingredients of eggs Benedict. Then I had to quote a full book of sonnets at it. Go on, try it. It’s for the cut across your forehead.” “You might have a little trouble waking me,” Fife told Adelaide. “I’m a very sound sleeper.” “No worries,” Adelaide said sweetly. “I’ll just kick your face till you come to.” “Existing can be brave enough some days, don’t you think?” It was a mournful song, yet somehow clever, too—like a court jester singing a dirge. As the nip of deep night snagged at Lottie’s skin, she began to understand what a tragedy it had been to lose the satchel back in the Sweetwater swamp. Adelaide went on in a small voice. “I don’t admit I’m wrong, you know, because to be wrong is the height of unsophistication. But I think being ungrateful is even worse.” “Oh?” Lottie felt that what Adelaide was telling her just now was something fragile. She didn’t dare say anything else for fear of shattering it. All of them were in a hurry, and their frantic energy leaked into Lottie’s breath and sped up her heart.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    3.5 stars, nearly close enough to round up but not enough for me to warrant it. I will readily admit that I bought this book first for its beautiful cover. There is another version that looks like paper mache that is even more stunning- it was the one I had originally found online and piqued my interest- but I think the cover of the version I bought is just as enchanting. This is a fun fantasy adventure full of magical creatures and abilities. Lottie is a headstrong girl determined to help her fr 3.5 stars, nearly close enough to round up but not enough for me to warrant it. I will readily admit that I bought this book first for its beautiful cover. There is another version that looks like paper mache that is even more stunning- it was the one I had originally found online and piqued my interest- but I think the cover of the version I bought is just as enchanting. This is a fun fantasy adventure full of magical creatures and abilities. Lottie is a headstrong girl determined to help her friend Elliot regain his health. She is extremely relatable, and I think most people who read this book will be able to understand her emotions and actions quite well. The supporting cast are unique as well, with a surprising amount of depth. You can tell a lot about what a person is feeling by how they act, and the further we go in the book the more we realize just how much each of these characters is hurting in some way. The adventure they embark on is full of danger, but I wish the danger had felt a bit more... imminent? At times they seem to just be standing on an open road when they should be skirting around in alleys. Dangerous beasts are prowling around and nearly drag one of them off, but do they run? Nope. They go back to the campfire and sleep. They are in an enormous amount of danger but it doesn't feel very real at times. And every time something dangerous happens it abruptly stops and suddenly they're in the clear, for no good reason and with no good explanation. This is a problem that is present throughout the entire book. The ending is extremely rushed and makes little sense. There are lots of things I wish had been better explained: what exactly are gengas and why is Ollie's genga a different color from Ada's if every house has the same color; the history of the southerly and northerly courts; barghest and the northerly rebels. Most importantly, though, I wanted a more clear final chapter. Lottie's keen is never fully explained, and there is a lot of confusion about what it might actually be. The escape itself was so haphazard that I wasn't sure what was going on. It ended too abruptly to have any explanation. Thankfully there is a second book so we'll get some more answers. This fantasy world is too interesting and has too much potential to just be stopped where it did. I will be looking forward to the next installment, and hope it will provide a better picture of the world we just started getting to know. Also, can someone explain to me what the title means? I like abstract titles, but I can't find any meaning to this one at all, aside from its fantastical connotation. It seems to have no tie-in to what the book actually entails, and that kind of irks me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Destiny Soria

    [Full disclosure: I am close friends with the author, but my opinions are entirely my own.] With a wit akin to E. Nesbit, a lyricism reminiscent of Frances Hodgson Burnett, and a whimsicality all its own, THE WATER AND THE WILD is a book for anyone who loves fantastic adventures in magical lands. Lottie is an odd child, with a periwinkle coat and a head full of fancy. And Lottie has a secret. Every year on her birthday, a gift from a mysterious benefactor appears in the copper box beneath her bel [Full disclosure: I am close friends with the author, but my opinions are entirely my own.] With a wit akin to E. Nesbit, a lyricism reminiscent of Frances Hodgson Burnett, and a whimsicality all its own, THE WATER AND THE WILD is a book for anyone who loves fantastic adventures in magical lands. Lottie is an odd child, with a periwinkle coat and a head full of fancy. And Lottie has a secret. Every year on her birthday, a gift from a mysterious benefactor appears in the copper box beneath her beloved apple tree. When her best friend Eliot is diagnosed with a fatal, Incurable illness, Lottie finds herself on a journey through the apple roots and into a magical world—one that is somehow strangely similar to her own. Lottie is joined on her adventure through the world of Limn by a captivating cast of characters: the prim, uptight Adelaide; the poetry-spouting Oliver, and the too-clever-for-his-own-good Fife (my personal favorite). As she tries to navigate the wonders—and dangers—of this new world, Lottie must find a cure for the Incurable and evade an evil tyrant who seems to think there’s something special about Lottie Fiske… This middle grade novel is a smart, funny read, with plenty of shocked gasps, mournful sighs, and nervous giggles thrown in for good measure. If I had read this as a child, I would have adored the relatable characters and the recurring importance of friendship (when Ormsbee signs her books, she reminds us to “Fight for friendship!” and I find this exceedingly appropriate). As an adult, I also appreciate the intricate magic system, which includes root-shooting between worlds and magical powers called Keens. Ormsbee puts a lot of care and attention into the details of her world, and it shines through on every page. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention how much I love the realistic social and political climate she creates. I don’t like when important issues like social justice and the dangers of elitism are dumbed down—or ignored—in children’s literature. Ormsbee strikes a good balance between tackling these complex issues, while still remaining kid-friendly. No matter your age, you’ll find something (probably many somethings) in this novel that tickles your brain. A lot of people mention that the ending is a little abrupt—which is true, but only because the sequel is coming out soon! I may or may not have gotten a sneak peek, and hypothetically would say that it is just as wonderful as the first—if not moreso.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    3.5 stars The Water and the Wild is the kind of middle grade novel that reminds me why I haven’t stopped reading them. Ormsbee’s prose is gorgeous, and the story magical. Ormsbee throws references to a number of classic tales, most notably Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and Spenser’s The Fairy Queen. Achieving a novel that will have equal but varied appeal to young readers and adults a like is tough to do but I think Ormsbee has pulled it off. The characters shine, but I still wish the book 3.5 stars The Water and the Wild is the kind of middle grade novel that reminds me why I haven’t stopped reading them. Ormsbee’s prose is gorgeous, and the story magical. Ormsbee throws references to a number of classic tales, most notably Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and Spenser’s The Fairy Queen. Achieving a novel that will have equal but varied appeal to young readers and adults a like is tough to do but I think Ormsbee has pulled it off. The characters shine, but I still wish the book had been a bit more feelsy. It felt a bit safe. Despite the supposed danger, I was never worried about the young heroes. I do think they’re all fabulous, though Lottie is my least favorite of the main four. Oliver’s adorably bashful and I love his poetry quoting. Adelaide is a bit of a bitch so obviously I think she’s great. Fife is basically a sassy, pranking, bantery boy and he’s very reminiscent of Keefe so he’s my favorite. Actually, I feel like both characters and plot were a bit cheated by the rushed ending. There are a couple of potential adorable middle grade ships, but nothing is done with them. The question of what will happen in the land of the sprites is also left open. Thankfully, my googling indicates that Ormsbee is working on a sequel, which I .will most definitely be reading. Still, The Water and the Wild was solidly a four star read for me until the ending proved so clunky. They did a lot of wandering in order to get permission to wander more to finally get to where they were going. It was sort of a boring quest, because they didn’t really accomplish anything on the way. If you’ve not already started, you will want to add The Water and the Wild to your to-read list, but you might want wait until the sequel comes out in 2016 so that the ending doesn’t prove quite so frustrating.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Katie Carroll

    This book is a treasure. I loved it so much that I didn’t want it to end! From the very beginning, I was snickering at the descriptions of characters and scenes. Some of them were so perfect and imaginative that they stuck in my mind permanently! Mrs. Yates, the widow who raised the main character, Lottie, was described as having “the squinched face of a crow that had rammed its beak into one too many windowpanes.” Hilarious! The other thing that makes "The Water and the Wild" a new favorite is This book is a treasure. I loved it so much that I didn’t want it to end! From the very beginning, I was snickering at the descriptions of characters and scenes. Some of them were so perfect and imaginative that they stuck in my mind permanently! Mrs. Yates, the widow who raised the main character, Lottie, was described as having “the squinched face of a crow that had rammed its beak into one too many windowpanes.” Hilarious! The other thing that makes "The Water and the Wild" a new favorite is the collision of familiarity with incredibly new and mysterious elements. On the one hand, the main characters were very relatable. I felt like I got to know them like I would a friend in real life—their struggles, hopes, and frustrations. Then on the other hand, I was fascinated by all of the new scenes, plants, transport methods, and creatures in Lottie’s world. It was like a theme park for my imagination! I love the Barghest and would love to meet one in real life. Don’t even get me started on what it would be like to have a genga of my own. And I would pay far more than the entrance fee to Disney World to be able to see the majestic glass pergola of wisp territory or to climb into a Yew tree and watch its branches roll up like a cinnamon roll. If you’re not quite sure what I’m talking about at this point, that’s all the more reason to read it yourself! I’ve heard delighted reviews from all ages at this point—from a 12 year old to an 80-year-old. That’s the definition of a wonderful story to me—one that people of all ages can find themselves in, get lost in, and want to read over and over again. This book earned a permanent spot on my shelves fair and square. I can’t wait for a sequel!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    4.5 Huge thank you to Raincoast Books for this ARC! Admittedly, I had never heard of The Water and the Wild, but after reading the description, I knew it was my kind of book. Full of imagination and creativity, K.E Ormsbee's debut is really quite delightful. I think the main draw of The Water and the Wild is its rich storytelling. Ormsbee captures the reader's imagination, painting vivid pictures of the world in which Lottie and her companions inhabit. The book is filled with lush description, char 4.5 Huge thank you to Raincoast Books for this ARC! Admittedly, I had never heard of The Water and the Wild, but after reading the description, I knew it was my kind of book. Full of imagination and creativity, K.E Ormsbee's debut is really quite delightful. I think the main draw of The Water and the Wild is its rich storytelling. Ormsbee captures the reader's imagination, painting vivid pictures of the world in which Lottie and her companions inhabit. The book is filled with lush description, charming characters, and a wonderfully simplistic narration. Even the dialog has great punch to it, never reading dryly -- everything about The Water and the Wild is just such a refreshing ride compared to a lot of the middle grade fantasy out there. I think Adelaide was my favourite character of all of them. She was just so sassy and blunt. Unafraid to speak her mind, though very rough around the edges. She was completely my kind of a girl! I also loved Lottie, whom I thought was a strong protagonist. She's got quite the curious side, but she values love and friendship like no other. Every character in this book is wonderfully crafted and has their own motivations in this world. Each one is wild, difficult to tame, yet not always in tune to consequence. In a lot of ways that is what made them so striking and so different -- they weren't predictable in any way. The Water and the Wild is a fantastic debut novel, and it's one that offers so much adventure, creativity, and will spark the imagination of readers young and old. It's a book that wants its readers to dig a bit deeper, but it's full of life. I loved my time with this novel, and I am eager to see what K.E Ormsbee writes next.

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