I haven't finished this book yet, but screw it, I'm reviewing it now.
First off, I want to point out that I haven't read ANY bad reviews of this. Meaning on the blogs I've seen. I'm sure someone on Amazon was a turd about it, but that's Amazon, so screw it.
Secondly, no bad reviews? DESERVEDLY SO. This is the best YA book I've read in a while. Although wait, I was totally on board with The Mysterious Benedict Society...ok, this is the best YA book I've read since The Mysterious Benedict Society, which I will ALSO laud to the skies.
What's the plot, you ask, O Potential Reader? There are three kids who when they're essentially infants are sent away from their parents (on a cold, wintry night, obviously); the car they're in is chased by mysterious black shadowy men who can climb on the sides of buildings (THIS TRICK ALWAYS TERRIFIES ME), but they are magically whisked away just in the nick of time to -- an orphanage. And then for the next ten years they get shuttled from orphanage to orphanage, each of course getting progressively worse, until finally they're sent to a mysteeerious place in what I assume is Connecticut, but like...MagicConnecticut (which makes sense with their state slogan: "Full of Surprises" -- magical surprises!).
Anyway, basically they find a magic book and a magical old man and an evil witch and it's their destiny to save the world, etc etc. You know how these things go. BUT it is funny and has well-drawn characters and DWARVES and dialogue like this!:
AND“You truly are a moron, you know that? When you have something to say, say it. Instead of blundering about like a drunken parlor maid.”
She heard Emma saying that she bet Miss Crumley had planned all this, and Michael replying that he very much doubted that, and Emma saying something about Michael’s head being shaped like a turnip.
How can you not love an author who uses 'drunken parlor maid'? Mr. Stephens, I salute you. This is one of the few books I would just recommend willy-nilly, regardless of your reading preferences. Oh, excellent YA! You are so worth reading.