By A.S. Mackey
How do you know when a book wants to be read?
The Edge of Everywhen brings readers face-to-page with this question and many more in this delightful new fantasy by A.S. Mackey. Also enchantment. Loss. Danger. Family. Hope. Redemption. Why everyone’s story matters. And a really, really good read!
Indeed, The Edge of Everywhen is a splendid romp through all things bookish, magic, and true. Clever and convincing without being Pecksniffian, The Edge of Everywhen is a literary tour de force any bibliophile will love. (If you’re not a dyed-in-the-ink bibliophile at the start of this charming novel, chances are you will be by the end.)
Narrated by a book – I kid you not – the story revolves around two recently orphaned siblings: Piper, age 13, and Phoenix, age 10. He communicates with his sister by numerical code a la The Giver. Phoenix also has a special gift. Among other things, he hears and responds to what others choose to ignore. Piper is a book lover par excellence who proves her pluck and spunk many times over.
When their father goes missing after taking a construction job overseas and their mother is killed in a tragic car crash, the children suddenly finds themselves at the estate of their Aunt Beryl, a virtual stranger. Happily, Aunt Beryl’s three dogs take to the children immediately as dogs so often do. Ditto the housekeeper and butler, the kindly Sofia and Mr. Greene. They radiate warmth as welcome as much as Aunt Beryl refrigerates stiff austerity. (Think Polar Ice Caps.)
Struggling to adjust to “the new normal,” Piper and Phoenix stumble upon their aunt’s enormous library. It houses an impressive collection of classic books and is home to a special book. Meanwhile, to Piper’s horror, her aunt is determined to replace the priceless literary treasure trove with cheap fakes. And what’s up with her yellow life raft dreams?
Interwoven throughout the children’s story is another one. From far away. But you’ll have to get the book to find out more about that. While you’re at it, kindly remember peanut butter. Lavender and eucalyptus. Peppermint dreams. The age old question of why bad things happen to good people and It’s Not Fair!
Sturdy and Effervescent
Sturdy, solid writing combined with an effervescent imagination serve up a deliciously creative plot. Chapters are brief and easily digested, teeming with delightful allusions to well-loved literary classics. Characters are well-rounded and believable. The plot moves swiftly, like Secretariat rocketing around the final turn of the Belmont Stakes.
Readers will love becoming totally and completely submersed in a story or literary character who understands you in a way no one else can.
This book was so much fun in a Narnia and Inkheart-ish sort of way! Reading The Edge of Everywhen, you may even find yourself in a “thin place.” I didn’t want it to end.
Although tailored to middle schoolers, anyone who relishes the magic and mystery of books and all That Stuff will enjoy The Edge of Everywhen. As for me? Well, the next time I’m in the library I think I’ll close my eyes and listen. Because, Dear Reader, everyone’s story matters.
Mom and Kimber’s Score:
About A.S. Mackey:
“Allison Mackey’s debut book was a Steno pad full of poems, given to her parents as a gift when she was eight. She wrote her first sci-fi novel at age fifteen (it was horrid), but she still went on to solidify her love for creative writing with a degree in English literature from the University of Georgia. A member of the Shoals Writers Guild and the mother of three adult children, Allison lives in Florence, Alabama, where she and her husband are church planters and worship leaders.”