It seems everyone’s trying to write the next Harry Potter, which I guess is better than everyone trying to write the next Twilightoh wait. While I don’t like Harry Potter (breathe, it’s okay) or books in the same vein (it’s not my type of fantasy), I picked up Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger in hopes to find a book that I could suggest for the International Book Discussion we’re having at the library next March. While I’d rather suggest Rump, the paperback edition is slated for an April release.

The book follows the same format as Potter-esque books: Sophie Foster is different from most 12-year-olds. For starters, she’s a senior in high school who was offered a spot at an ivy league university. She can also hear people’s thoughts. All this changes one day when she meets Fitz. Like her, Fitz is different. In fact, he’s an elf. And he reveals to Sophie that she’s one, too. An opportunity of a lifetime is offered, she can give up her life as human and live among the elves and other fairy tale creatures in the Lost Cities. Of course, this begins the chain reaction that reveals all the secrets that hide within her head.

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon MessengerNow, I gave this a four-star review on GoodReads to make up for my bias. There are some things I found rather bothersome with the book. Shannon Messenger doesn’t avoid clichés like the plague. It’s the first lesson we learn in creative writing, avoid clichés. Or reinvent them. Her writing dragged at times, even though the story didn’t slow in pace. And several times throughout the book, I wondered if she was searching for her voice. There are few other things I disliked but I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I’ll bottom them for another day.

Now, don’t think this book bad. The story, while familiar, is great. The reader is sucked in with its fast pace. And with Sophie, there isn’t a dull moment. The love triangle (there’s always a love triangle these days) is present, but I wonder if it’ll be a quadrangle later on. It’s also not a central plot, which makes the book easier to digest. And while I disregarded it as a potential suggestion for the book discussion, I have to say that I’m fighting the urge to purchase the next book. So it’s made it onto my suggestion pile.

About the book (back cover):

Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She is a Telepath, and has a unique ability to hear the thoughts of everyone around her—something that she’s never known how to explain, and has made her and outcast, even in her own family.

But everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s somewhere she does belong, and staying where she is will put her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from her own.

Sophie has new rules and skills to learn, and not everyone is thrilled with her “homecoming.” There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory, secrets that other people desperately want.

Would even kill for…

Keeper of the Lost Cities
by Shannon Messenger
Aladdin, Reprint edition (6 August 2013)
ISBN: 9781442445949

Keeper of the Lost Cities is a perfect read for any child between the ages of 8-12, or any adult who’s a child at heart. You can pick up a copy at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. An e-book edition is available for Kindle and Nook.

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