Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
Aladdin, 496 Pages
Source: Advance Reader Copy
Age group: Middle Grade
Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities #1
Recommended for: fans of Harry Potter and/or Percy Jackson
Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.
Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.
Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.” There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.
Full disclosure: I do, in fact, know Shannon in real life and met her before I read Keeper of the Lost Cities; however this is my professional opinion of her work.
Despite the fact that I don’t read middle grade that often (I’ve only read a handful of MGs), and the fact that I don’t particularly care for third person POV, Shannon Messenger’s debut middle grade, Keeper of the Lost Cities, has been one of my favorite reads of the year. Messenger writes a story that children will find adventurous and thrilling, while throwing in witty remarks that adults will pick up on. And though the first 50 pages were a little hard to get into (understanding the background, being told new information, getting situated), once you’re past the beginning, you are in it to win it.
The world building in this book is absolutely wonderful. Similar to Harry Potter, we see into the classes of these special children – and what makes it even better is that the reader is given so much information about the classes – tests, homeworks, finals – which makes the world come to life. One world-building aspect that I liked very much was the different settings – the school, other places (no spoilers!), and OUI, PARIS. By taking us to different places, the world was expanded and I felt like I was right there along side of Sophie.
Yes, this is definitely written for a younger audience but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! Like I stated before, I don’t really read middle grade, but if this is what MG is made of, then sign me up for more. Keeper of the Lost Cities was almost 500 pages and I wanted more. This book is fun, adventurous, and imaginative. I can’t wait to see what awaits Sophie and the gang in the next book.
If you’re a fan of J.K. Rowling and/or Rick Riordan, you’ll definitely want to pick up Keeper of the Lost Cities!