The Little Secret
by Kate Saunders
Jane is spending the summer with her odd new friend, Staffa, going to parties and wearing fancy dresses. Staffa’s slightly scary mother, Lady Matilda, tells crazy stories, drinks a vile-smelling tea, and never strays far from a glowing painted box that the girls are under strict orders never, ever to open. But Jane can’t resist; upon opening it, she is sucked into an amazing and terrifying new world so small that insects are the size of horses. Jane knows she must escape immediately or be trapped forever. But first, she has to wrangle a flying bumblebee, rescue the king, and free the people of Eck. (goodreads.com)
What a delightful, delightful little story! This book was a gift for my birthday and I was immediately curious about it. It’s a short, quick read but oh boy is it packed with so much fun!
** Hi! So, I started this post on February 9 and as you can see, it’s now MARCH! Guess who has no time and energy this year? Yep, this girl. *points to self* I’m going to try and catch up, but I haven’t actually read a book since, um, *checks Goodreads* February 18th! Yikes. **
It’s been forever since I finished this book, but what I can remember is that it is Middle Grade fiction at its best. Seriously. There is action, magic, mystery and great characters all tied up with a pretty well-written bow.
I loved the oddness of Staffa and how she seemed to have stepped out of a historical novel with her odd fashion and manner of speaking. Of course Staffa’s oddness is explained as the story progresses but it didn’t make me love her any less.
I actually felt a little anxious as the story unfolded. There was a sense of urgency and anxiety as the plot thickened and, yes, I know I am sensitive, but still. I’d have been a little more anxious if I were Child Me reading the book. I was even MORE sensitive then. I sort of like that I had this feeling while reading the book though! I mean, even though I was fairly certain everything would turn out ok in the end, I was still affected by the conflict in the book. This tiny, quick read of a book was able to ignite emotions within me and THAT makes a book to me.
You know what I love about MG books? I love that they can have elements of contemporary fiction and fantasy and mystery all rolled up into one package and it doesn’t make the book seem strange. It’s a blend of themes that makes the story so much fuller and more entertaining to me. The book touches upon friendship and bullying and magical castles and Alice in Wonderlandish nonsense and it just makes me SO HAPPY to have all of this in one book.
You can’t really have all of this in a YA or adult novel without having it set in one category in a store. Or the focus in those genres is more obvious and pronounced. Middle Grade books seem to embrace their mishmash of genres and I think that makes them extra special.
I especially love to escape life for a while with a good MG book. Sometimes it’s the best kind of mental vacation I can give myself.