The Other Alice by Michelle Harrison
|The Other Alice by Michelle Harrison|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: Something weird is going on: Midge's sister Alice is really scared, and then she disappears. Join Midge as he discovers the spooky, mind-boggling truth about the strangers who've just arrived in town.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: July 2016|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's UK|
|External links: Author's website|
Alice hasn't met her traveller father very often, but there's one rule he always impresses upon her: never, ever leave a story unfinished. And for a gifted writer like Alice, that's easy – until she tackles a full-length novel and realises her imagination has dried up. She's a long way into the story before she discovers she has no idea how to finish it. And then she starts seeing shadows out of the corner of her eye, shapes that flit away into the dark as soon as she turns to look at them.
Midge, our narrator, is Alice's younger brother. He and his sister are very close, especially since Alice left school and took over a lot of the everyday running of the household. She's always been a dreamer, though, inclined to lose herself in her own stories, so no one is too worried when she is more jumpy and anxious than usual. Not, that is, until the night she disappears completely. His parents both happen to be working away, so Midge is left alone in the house, his head full of the vague warnings Alice has given him over recent days – don't trust strangers, don't give any information about me to people you don't know . . . and if that's not scary enough, his beloved cat Twitch is missing too, replaced by a near-identical cat who talks non-stop and has a taste for tea (milk and two sugars, please).
It seems the little town of Fiddler's Hollow is awash with odd strangers. There's a girl who looks like Alice, and a boy who closely resembles someone she once had a crush on. Some, however, are even more sinister, and the whole book has an atmosphere of unease with moments of downright menace as Midge tries to solve the mystery that surrounds his sister and her story. Scenes are vividly described and the characters crackle with life, but truth be told a couple of the plot points are too easy to guess, giving the reader a feeling of frustration. Why didn't they simply ask . . . how come they don't realise . . . That apart, it's a cracking good story with a fascinating premise and will give readers lots of pleasure.
Young people who enjoyed this book and want to explore Michelle Harrison's books further will like The Thirteen Treasures and its sequel, The Thirteen Curses. Despite being about fairies there's no sign of anything fluffy or cute here! And it's soon clear there are plenty of similarities between our Alice and her more famous namesake – talking cat, anyone? Readers will have fun teasing out all the parallels by returning to the old favourites Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and Sir John Tenniel and the follow-up, Alice Through the Looking-glass by Lewis Carroll and Tony Ross. Honestly, you'd never guess the story is 150 years old!
You can read more book reviews or buy The Other Alice by Michelle Harrison at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Other Alice by Michelle Harrison at Amazon.com.
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