It’s been quite the long time since I’ve done a book review, and this time, I’m coming to you with a young adult one! The League and the Lantern by Brian Wells was a quick but intriguing read that I had the pleasure of consuming during our ride back from a family trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I can not wait for the next installment of the series, and I’m hoping that Brian is working on that pronto.
I’ve never been one to shy away from reading books that aren’t geared towards my age group, and for that I’m thankful. I met Brian in Arkansas during a work trip in March, and when I heard the premise from the story, I was excited. First of all, it had diversity. Three heroes, and it takes place in my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. To say that I was pretty proud to see it represented through lots of the landmarks, and transportation stops is an understatement. There’s something about being proud of where you live, and to have an author choose to base their novel in that space is wonderful.
The book follows Jake, TJ, and Lucy on a 48 hour mystery that involves Abraham Lincoln, The Field Museum of Natural History, Springfield, Illinois and Lincoln’s Tomb. That’s all I can say. Jake, TJ, and Lucy being the three new kids in their class for their seventh grade year are haphazardly thrown together for a group activity that goes haywire when what sounds like a bomb detonates. That’s all I can tell you.
What I LOVE about this book is the fact that Brian includes popular vocabulary words that are on par with what kids 9-14 years of age should know or learn. If they don’t have a dictionary around, they can most certainly figure out the definition through context clues. The main characters aren’t overly adult, or dumbed down either. I did find myself getting annoyed with each of them for different reasons, and it all mirrored the way that I am in real life, so I know that the writing was realistic. I was also pleasantly surprised that there was mention of God in the book. Not in a overly Christian way, just in a way that wasn’t forced, and naturally fit in.
I will say that I did find the treatment of Lucy exactly the way that most girls are treated in middle school, and I was happy to see some sort of resolution by the end of the book. I would like to see if the series (hint, hint) will take on putting the supporting characters; Lucy and TJ; on display a bit more.
It’s been a LONG time since I’ve read a book in one sitting – you know, kids – and this was a great read for the road, or the plane, or the beach and I’m glad that I took it along.
The book is currently available on Amazon, and Brian is doing something amazing. With each purchase he is donating one book match. To date he’s given more than 1,600 books away, with one large donation going to Salvation Army for their summer camp.
That’s not all the good news that I have. I’m giving away a prize pack complete with a copy of The League and the Lantern and I want YOU to win it! Just tell me the last good book that you’ve read, and why you liked it so much! This giveaway will close Friday, June 24th at 11:59 pm CST. Good luck!