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Bad Neighbors by Maia Chance
Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold
The Bicycle Spy by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli by Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad
Canada and the Canadian Question by Goldwin Smith
Dear Mrs Bird by A.J. Pearce
Don't Cosplay with My Heart by Cecil Castellucci
Flo by Kyo Maclear and Jay Fleck
A Friendly Town That's Almost Always by the Ocean! by Kir Fox and M. Shelley Coats
The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis
Locke & Key, Volume 3: Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill
The Mad Apprentice by Django Wexler
March: Book Two by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
The Mushroom Fan Club by Elise Gravel
My Boyfriend Bites by Dan Jolley and Alitha E. Martinez
My Little Pony: Micro-Series: #2: Rainbow Dash by Ryan K. Lindsay
My Little Pony: Micro-Series: #5: Pinkie Pie by Ted Anderson
The Night Garden by Polly Horvath
Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf
The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet
Ratscalibur by Josh Lieb
Rhymoceros by Janik Coat
The Sandwich Swap by Rania al-Abdullah
Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore
Secret at Mystic Lake by Carolyn Keene
Slider by Pete Hautman
Soupy Leaves Home by Cecil Castellucci
Sunny by Jason Reynolds
This is Paris by Miroslav Sasek
The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones by Will Mabbitt
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant

Miscellaneous
April 2018 sources
April 2018 summary
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (May 07)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (May 14) It's Monday, What Are You Reading (May 21) It's Monday, What Are You Reading (May 28) Reading Current

Road Essays
Getting there: it's the road, stupid
In the upside-down: the hobo life in Oz
Re-Mapping the road narrative project
Sibling magic on and off road in the fantasy and horror road narrative
Small towns and out of the way places
Traveling party

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The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones: 05/25/18

The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones

The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones by Will Mabbitt is the start of the Mabel Jones middle grade adventure series. There are pirates in an alternate world who find pirates from our world by grabbing those who do the dastardly, unmentionable deed. When Mabel Jones does the deed and they grab her, they don't know what to do. They've never grabbed a girl before!

The set up didn't sound promising but I was in the middle of reading about orphan magic, a term used in Greenglass House. There are so many examples, especially in middle grade fiction, of children (often actual orphans, though ones who feel like loners also qualify) being transported to an alternate world or being able to escape from a bad situation when no one else can.

The first third of the book involves Mabel's shock at being kidnapped by pirates and the pirates being horrified by capturing a girl. Mind you, there is a history of women pirates and it's presumptuous to assume all girls would be too dainty or feminine to pick their noses. I lost track of how many times I came close to closing the book early and counting it as a did not finish (DNF).

Around the second third of the book things start to change. Mabel has convinced them to let her lead the quest that she had been captured for. Through the questing, there is world building. And that's when things get interesting.

It begins with a pirate who appears to be the embodiment of DEATH. He can do things that the pirates cannot but that Mabel can. She is either invincible or she and he are more similar than they are different. The clues are there for readers to figure out before the big reveal.

By the final third, the reality of this alternate world is laid bare and it's not what I was expecting. It's far more epic than such a silly (and sexist) premise would lead one to expect. The pirates are living in a dystopia and it's one that's more closely tied to Mabel and our world than is first made apparent.

The second book in the series is Mabel Jones and the Forbidden City (2016).

Three stars

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