Middle Grade Queen Ally Carter, who changed the way we thought about spies with Gallagher Girls, is back with a new middle grade read that I cannot wait to start recommending! It’s Batman meets Annie meets Home Alone and there’s strong characters and a big, old house and a truly bad guy and it is perfect for older middle grade readers.
April has bounced from foster house to foster house for years, ever since she was left by her mother with nothing but a key that she now wears around her neck. One day, when she’s twelve, April’s foster group goes to a museum, and April sees a box that she thinks might be the lock that fits her key. She sneaks back in, things go horribly wrong, and when she wakes up in the hospital, she is invited to live at Winterborne, the big mansion of the Wayne-esque family, that is run by the Winterborne Foundation ever since the heir, Gabriel, went missing ten years before. But someone is sneaking around at night, breaking faces and taking food, and April is going to find out what’s going on, even if it means putting her life in danger.
This book has a big, old house with lots of secret rooms, a knife wielding man in the dark, an urban legend who might just not be a legend, orphans rising up together, Home Alone style traps, and a lot of heart. It’s pretty good Middle Grade, in my opinion. The characters are interesting, there’s humor but also some dark undertones of death and abandonment,and it truly is very Batman meets Annie. The cover sells, haha.
April is joined by four other Winterborne housemates: Sadie, a fierce inventor, Colin, the son of a notorious thief, and Tim and Violet, two people brought in at the same time as April, saved from another foster home. We get a lot of Sadie in this book, but I’m excited to see the story of Tim and Violet unfold as well in future books!