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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Finding Serendipity, by Angelica Banks. Henry Holt and Company, Macmillan. Raincoast Books, 2015. $19.50 ages 8 and up

"It doesn't matter whether you write on a fancy laptop or an old typewriter or, for that matter, with a pen on a paper napkin. All of that is beside the point. The point is that stories want to be told. Stories have a power of their own, and they choose their writers carefully. But you can't write a story until you've felt it. Breathed it in. Walked with your characters. Talked with them."

Oh, I know some readers who are going to LOVE this new fantasy! Tuesday McGillycuddy is beside herself with excitement now that school is done for the summer. Eight weeks to spend with her parents and her dog, Baxterr. The only hitch may be that her mother, the famous author Serendipity Smith, has not yet put the finishing touches and the End to her latest Vivienne Small adventure. The family will have to wait to celebrate until it is completed.

"Sitting at the kitchen table, Tuesday wondered what her mother and father had planned for this holiday. A summer sojourn, her dad had said. Perhaps that meant the beach, but it might equally mean walking in the mountains or sailing on a yacht, which Tuesday had never tried, although she dearly wanted to. Or it might mean a tropical island with palm trees and a long white sandy beach and a little house with a thatched roof."

Later that day when her mother doesn't come down from her top story writing room, Tuesday is concerned. Her father suggests that she might tiptoe up and see if she can hear anything from beyond the door. Nothing. Her father decides that he too will investigate. When they get no response, he quietly opens the door ... the window is open, Serendipity Smith is gone! Dad Denis shows no anxiety, assuring his daughter that her mother is bound to be home before breakfast.

But, Tuesday gets no rest. She returns to the studio and finds a silver box which contains a delicate thread that spells The End. Those two telling words will not stick to her mother's manuscript. Tuesday decides to begin her own story - that is when the real adventure begins, as well. The words lift off the page and carry Tuesday and Baxterr out the open window. Off they go to the land where all stories are written.

Imagine her surprise when another silver strand of words belonging to The Blake Luckhurst appears in the sky nearby. The name seems a bit familiar. Blake explains:

"... he continued, "First published at twelve. Million books sold by the time I was thirteen. Two films in the making. Jack Bonner - my hero - bestselling action figure last Christmas, in case you've been living on the moon."

As if meeting a self-assured teenage author isn't enough, Blake introduces Tuesday to the Librarian. She is a much respected and helpful character for Tuesday, while also being demanding and quire inflexible with her expectations of writers. In this author's world Tuesday is lucky enough to meet her mother's character Vivienne Small,  and asks her to help find Serendipity. Their wild adventure conjures up characters from her mother's fictional world, and a whole lot of trouble!

Inventive, funny, fresh, and fast paced, this book is an homage to the power of the imagination and the written word. It will be especially loved by those who love adventure, a touch of magic and a feisty heroine who plods on despite obstacles until all is right in her world again. You know the ones!

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