#46 The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L. D. Lapinski

When 12-year-old Flick Hudson accidentally ends up in the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, she uncovers a fantastic secret: there are hundreds of other worlds just steps away from ours. All you have to do to visit them is jump into the right suitcase. Then Flick gets the invitation of a lifetime: join Strangeworlds’ magical travel society and explore other worlds.

But, unknown to Flick, the world at the very centre of it all, a city called Five Lights, is in danger. Buildings and even streets are mysteriously disappearing. Once Flick realizes what’s happening she must race against time, travelling through unchartered worlds, seeking a way to fix Five Lights before it collapses into nothingness – and takes our world with it.

Paperback | 384

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books; 01 edition (30 April 2020)

Read: 9th June

Age Range: 9-12 year olds.

This was another impulse buy from Waterstones, but it looked like an interesting book and the blurb was captivating. I couldn’t wait to jump into this book as it seemed to have a truly creative and original storyline.

It was very easy to read, however, I did find my attention wavering at moments and had to stop myself from skim reading some pages. Too many words and information at times took away from the reading experience.

Jonathon was a character who I really struggled to understand. I found him very difficult to connect with in a way that was acceptable and lined up with the words on the page. I think part of it was his age, eighteen seemed an odd age for the role he’d been given, and it just didn’t sit well with me. However, it is clear that Jonathon’s character is multi-layered and even with what I learnt of him in this book, there is clearly still a lot to uncover.

Flick encompassed everything you’d expect for a mighty heroine. However, I did find that she was quite down to earth in herself and open to learning and exploring. She lacked the arrogance and ego that some heroes/heroines have in children’s books. I felt that she handled the situations she was in very calmly and behaved with a sense of maturity I didn’t see in Jonathon.

I think pairing them in this book gave an unfair view into the characters because of certain aspects of the plot but I can see potential for the pair going forward and can see the spark of something great.

This was relatively easy to visualise. As there were so many ‘worlds’ to visit, it was easy to be able to rely on my own imagination to bring those worlds into focus.

I’m left divided with this book because on the one hand I can see how creative it was and how interesting the debut novel is but on the other hand I feel like the book fell short of what it was trying to achieve. It is a very interesting concept that the author has come up with, but I felt like the majority of the book was setting up the knowledge behind the Society rather than allowing the reader to journey into the Society and learn along the way. At times I found myself really bored with what I was reading because I was just getting an information overload without any real purpose. Then, towards the end of the book it became the other way around and there was no information and too many questions.

The age of the characters and the secrets around not telling people what they were up to didn’t sit right with me. I understand the secrecy but the wording and the way it was presented just didn’t read particularly well and it just made me feel a little odd.

Perhaps, despite how good the blurb sounded this book just wasn’t for me.

So, my enjoyment wasn’t as high as it has been and this book wasn’t as great as I’d been expecting but I haven’t completely written it off because as I’ve said, I can appreciate the creativeness and the uniqueness of the overall story and I can understand that while I didn’t get what I wanted from this book, it would make a lot of other people very happy.

At least I ended up finishing it! When I was roughly halfway though, I didn’t know if I had the patience to finish it because it had almost become a chore to read – and that did make me quite sad to think about. Whenever I read a dud book I always think of clothes shopping. Sometimes a garment looks fantastic on you and other times it should have stayed on the hanger. I feel like I shouldn’t have impulse this book but at the same time, I’m not overly mad that I bought it.

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