One resolution I set for myself this year was to try to read from the middle grade section of the bookstore.
An often overlooked section for me, I set out to conquer it, looking for fantasy and historical fiction to peak my interest.
I received an ARC of The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery in exchange for an honest review, via NetGalley. With that in mind, lets get into the review, shall we?
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The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery by Allison Rushby
Publisher: Candlewick Press (July 24th, 2018)
Print Length: 256 pages
Flossie Birdwhistle is the Turnkey at London’s Highgate Cemetery. As Turnkey, it’s Flossie’s job to ensure that all the souls buried in the cemetery stay at rest. Not an easy job for a young ghost, but a task made especially difficult by World War II: London is being attacked every night by enemy bombers, and even the dead are unsettled. When Flossie encounters the ghost of a German soldier carrying a mysterious object that seems to exist in both the living and spirit worlds, she becomes suspicious — what is the officer up to? Before long, Flossie uncovers a sinister plot that could destroy not only her cemetery, but also her beloved country. Can Flossie and her ghostly friends stop the soldier before it’s too late? History collides with the supernatural in this exciting, ethereal mystery from Allison Rushby.
The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery is a beautiful exploration of what could be life after death and what being brave truly means.
The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery tells the fantastical story of twelve-year-old Flossie Birdwhistle, a ghost charged with the protection of the Cemetery she’s buried in, Highgate Cemetery. When the Blitz threatens the peace Flossie has spent her afterlife trying to achieve, she will stop at nothing to make sure those she cherishes most are protected even if it means sacrificing her afterlife in the process.
I was pleasantly surprised as to just how much history, both British and otherwise, was packed into this 256 page novel. Furthermore, even though this novel is directed towards middle grade readers I didn’t find, as a reader who enjoys YA and Adult fiction, the history to be oversimplified, which was a misguided fear I had going into The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery. Because the history was so sophisticated I fell that this novel is a great starter for any youngster who is interested in history or World War II in specific.
Flossie as a character was a delight to read about. The way in which her story is presented, both pre and post death made her incredibly interesting so far as protagonists go, and though she was a ghost that wasn’t her entire personality. She was independent, determined, intelligent, and willing to go to just about any length to save her charges. While there were other enjoyable characters, fellow ghosts and familiars, Flossie will stick with me for the foreseeable future, and hopefully the next middle grade I pick up has a character like her.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
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And those are my thoughts on The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery by Allison Rushby. Have any historical fiction middle grade reads you think I should check out? Leave your recommendation below and help my TBR grow.