Tilly and the Book Wanderers (Pages & Co. #1)
Author: Anna James
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Publication Date: September 18th 2018
Format: Hardback (400 pages)
Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparents’ bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favourite stories.
One day Tilly realises that classic children’s characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering’ – crossing over from the page into real life.
With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face.
My Rating: ★★★★★
Without a doubt, Anna James’ debut novel Tilly and the Bookwanderers (Pages & Co) had been on my list of most highly anticipated releases ALL year. Not only is Anna a huge presence in the bookish community, but her debut novel sounded exactly like the kind of book I would have adored reading as a young reader. Let me assure you now, Tilly’s adventures are absolutely magical and totally captivating. The only regret you’ll have is if you don’t pick up this book!
Tilly lives with her grandparents in their bookshop Pages & Co. She is a bookworm through and through and I know that younger Kelly would 100% have wanted Tilly to be her best friend. Mystery surrounds Tilly’s life as neither Tilly or her grandparents know why her mother disappeared or where she went. Add on top of that the mysterious appearance of a gentleman visiting her grandfather, fictional characters popping up in the book shop and it’s not long until Tilly discovers that she is a bookwanderer and gets a step closer to finding out more about her whole family.
I adored the plot of this story which is all so cleverly woven together. Tilly enters the world of bookwandering and discovers the Underlibrary and a whole host of book loving people. I loved seeing appearances from well known and beloved characters such as Alice and Anne and I thought that Anna James captured their voices perfectly. As an adult now I’d love to be able to bookwander but this book will surely inspire a whole new generation of young readers as they ponder whether or not they themselves can become bookwanderers like Tilly.
Tilly and Oskar have such a wonderful, pure interest and I loved seeing how their friendship developed throughout the book. I loved that Tilly took Oskar under her wing a little bit and it was just lovely to see him almost become part of her family. I’m hoping there will be many more of these adventures so we can learn more about Tilly and Oskar’s lives, families and bookwandering!
I thought the settings of this book were particularly special. Pages & Co seems like such a magical, joyful bookshop and I could easily imagine Tilly cwtched up in a corner somewhere with her favourite novels. I loved how the Underlibrary was hidden underneath the Great British Library. It’s such a great idea by Anna James to conceal the fictional world beneath a real location. Similarly to how J.K Rowling took real locations and added her sprinkle of magic, that’s exactly what Anna James has done here. That’s the magic of this book. It takes fictional worlds and make them feel within our grasp, just like the Harry Potter series did.
I am 100% convinced that if I’d read this book as a child it would easily have been my favourite book. It’s the kind of book that makes me excited to have my own children so we can sit and live Tilly and Oskar’s adventures together as we do our own bookwandering. I can’t possibly put into words exactly how special this novel is but I already feel that it will be one of those children’s classics that is still talked about and shared with young readers for many years to come. Simply wonderful.
Have you read Tilly and the Bookwanderers? Is it on your TBR?
If you were a bookwanderer, which book would you wish to visit?