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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tween Fantasy a Hit with Midwest Reviewer

Cynthia's Attic: The Missing Locket
By Mary Cunningham
Tween fantasy/fiction, Ages: 9-12
Quake (Echelon Press imprint)
9735 Country Meadows Lane 1-D, Laurel, MD 20723
ISBN: 1590804414 $9.99 410-878-7113

Reviewed by Mayra Calvani for Midwest Book Reviews

The Missing Locket is a paranormal mystery featuring two lovable young sleuths that girls 9 and up will absolutely love. It is the perfect, darkly atmospheric story for young fans of intrigue and adventure to cuddle up with on those gray, rainy afternoons or read in bed.

It is the summer of 1964 and Gus and Cynthia, two best friends who are very different from each other yet very close, are bored out of their minds. Then they have an idea—why not explore Cynthia's old and mysterious attic? After all, Cynthia lives in one of those huge mansions with three floors and lots of rooms, the perfect kind of house that stimulates young imaginations. In the attic, among all the antiques, spiders and cobwebs, they discover a huge, dust-covered old trunk. When they open it, they find an old, dirty, pink ballet costume and slippers, which Cynthia, unable to resist, quickly tries on. Then something very strange happens… Cynthia begins to dance and twirl with the effortless beauty of a ballerina! Stunned, she soon takes it off. As they head towards the door, the unimaginable happens—they're 'pulled' back to the trunk as if by magic, and the attic changes, becoming cold and still when only a moment ago it had been hot and muggy. What's even more strange, the ballet costume and the trunk now look brand new!

Under the costume, they discover a sailor dress, and this time Gus tries it on, with drastic consequences… she's whisked in time back to 1914, to the time when their grandmothers were only twelve years old. Of course, later on, Cynthia joins Gus, and together they must help their Aunt Belle and solve the mystery of the missing, bell-shaped locket, an adventure that takes them over on a steamship across the Atlantic and where they make friends with a young boy's ghost.

Talented author Mary Cunningham has drawn a delightful, intriguing fantasy world that will delight middle readers. Her love for storytelling and for the genre really comes through the pages. The pace is quick and there are enough twists and turns to keep juvenile fans of mystery guessing. The characters of Gus and Cynthia are sympathetic and interesting and young girls will be able to identify with them. This is the first book in the series and I certainly look forward to read the second book, The Magic Medallion, soon.
Mayra Calvani, the reviewer, is author of the book, The Slippery Art of Book Reviews.
The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, founder of Authors' Coaliition ( It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love--and that includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews and reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page.


Word said...

I've had the pleasure and the honor to read all of the books in the Cynthia's Attic series!

Each one is a fantastic, fast moving, journey frought with danger, suspense, laughs, and mouth watering food (oh and great writing to boot!)

Not only do these books stand on their own, but read as a series - well - even better.

With secondary characters as memorable as our "stars" Cynthia and Gus, and places and times sure to capture the immaginations of young and old readers - these books are outstanding adventures.

I would encourage our teacher friends to consider these books as classroom read-a-louds as they will engage the kids AND offer opportunities to discuss historical places and times.

Oh - and there is more on the horizon. Wait till you see Mary's next book!

Cheers - and might I say - what a wonderful blogspot this is!


Word said...

Oh - one more quick comment. I have a fantastic interview with author Mary Cunningham posted on my blogspot.

Come out and take a look.