February 3, 2015

Finding Serendipity - Angelica Banks

Finding Serendipity Angelica Banks book cover
(Australian cover)
Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks!) || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the opinions expressed in my review.]

When Tuesday McGillycuddy and her beloved dog, Baxterr, discover that Tuesday’s mother—the famous author Serendipity Smith—has gone missing, they set out on a magical adventure. In their quest to find Serendipity, they discover the mysterious and unpredictable place that stories come from. Here, Tuesday befriends the fearless Vivienne Small, learns to sail an enchanted boat, tangles with an evil pirate, and discovers the truth about her remarkable dog. Along the way, she learns what it means to be a writer and how difficult it can sometimes be to get all the way to The End. (Goodreads)

Finding Serendipity stands out from its middle grade peers with a spectacularly told, creatively detailed tale. There’s enough imagination and wisdom to suit all, and it’s matched with a big amount of heart. Readers join Tuesday McGillycuddy & her dog Baxterr as they head off on an adventure to find Tuesday’s mom Serendipity and bring her back home. These two are a delightful pair: clever Tuesday, who loves her family and has a mind for stories and Baxterr, her best dog friend who is a protective, constant companion. While these two definitely steal the show, there are also a number of secondary characters that will vie for your attention while they’re on the page.

The story is set mostly in an imagined world, the land where stories come from. And this, friends, is where Finding Serendipity really got to me on a personal level. It was utterly fascinating to conceptualize the idea of stories as having a separate world where characters live, settings unfold, and plots are followed by the writers until the very end. As someone who loves stories, Banks’ idea of them felt fun and fresh, but also true. There are some seriously hilarious tidbits in there related to stories (like what’s on offer at the buffet area, for instance), but there are also some great, practical pieces of advice when it comes to telling a tale.

Finding Serendipity has a basic premise: a girl and her dog looking for her mom. Banks expands on that foundational plot point, turning it into an adventure for Tuesday that involves meeting new friends, getting into some trouble and experiencing some pretty fantastical things. The way it’s written is really good, easy and well-paced. Without a doubt, Finding Serendipity is a new gem among children’s books, one that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to readers both young and young at heart.


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