Rating: High Four 1/2
Who I'd Recommend to: Fans of Jerry Spinelli (especially his Hokey Pokey), the Land of Stories, and anything Cornelia Funke. (don't let the fact that this is YA fool you, it's totally age appropriate for middle grade readers, too).
Aoife Finley is bursting at the seams with creativity. No one daydreams better than her and her imagination knows no bounds.
Mr. Peterson is old, his best days long behind him. He yearns for the past, mistrusts the present, and fears the future. But he's just figured out how to recapture his past:
By stealing other people's imaginations.
Armed with only her creativity, imaginary friends, and a few bickering classmates, Aoife embarks on an amazing, but dangerous journey into the otherworld that she created, a place that is slipping more and more out of her control and into Mr. Peterson’s, before the real world as she knows it—and as it could be—disappears forever.
The humor in this, with the characters, kept the story going. I really enjoyed reading the diverse array of characters that travel with Aoife in her journey. At first, they seemed more like the average kids you'd find at school (the smart-alec, the tough, seemingly angry kid, the fashion clothes obsessed girl) but as the story advances, you really get to see their depth. These were special moments when I really felt connected to the story and characters. I also liked the imaginary friends and the Woman in Green, which added a bit of intrigue and mystery to the story.
I loved the adventure, and Paxsum. I would read it all over again just to relive that. There was always something happening, but there was still emotion and nothing felt too rushed. I was kept on the edge of my seat the entire time, with more and more danger piling up as the characters went along. The story itself, and the resolution, were sweet, with good life lessons and a satisfying ending that left room for another book. Overall, an amazing book that I thoroughly enjoyed!