The Impossible Girl (Monarch Books, 2022) by Ashley White is a beautifully written middle-grade novel. Fans of Harry Potter and Narnia will adore this magical story about a young girl who accidentally finds her way into the whimsical world of Xarcadia.
Ava Marie Jones is what the citizens of call a Lost One, meaning her parents sent her out at birth into the mortal realm, where she was adopted by an uncharitable family. One stormy night, Ava decides she must get away, and flees to the comfort of her familiar haven: the Cathedral Tree. Ava climbs into the tree, when, unexpectedly, the old, tangled roots beneath her give way and she plummets down into darkness. She soon finds out that she has just landed in , a society filled with supernatural beings. There is so much mystery surrounding Ava’s birth and powers, that the entirety of is in an uproar over her sudden arrival.
On top of the exhausting, constant speculation of the public and struggling to comprehend the inexplicable occurrences of the day, Ava finds out that her new school, Academy, will be hosting an annual event called the Lost One’s Ball. Here she will have the opportunity to meet her birth parents for the first time in thirteen years. But, on the night of the ball, when a tragedy occurs, Ava must decide if she should investigate, or focus on her studies and her school’s upcoming annual Assembly Games.
The friend group in this book was made up of extraordinary characters who were fun to read about. Characters are such an important part of a novel, and I can honestly say that everyone in this fantasy is wonderfully portrayed. Ava is so considerate; it is refreshing to see. Not since I read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, have I found a middle-grade fantasy novel with such a lovable cast of characters.
Ava makes a good role model for young readers ages ten and older and a relatable one for teens. I believe this will be a book that will spark a love for reading, as well as a fun adventure for anyone who loves middle-grade books.
Ashley White made feel real. This clean middle-grade book with friendship, and magic, has unique takes on the classic fantasy elements we know and love. For example, I loved reading and learning about the beautiful mythological creatures—especially the Kelpies. “For within the lake were large, bronze boats attached to the backs of horse-like creatures. The creatures had the appearance of Clydesdales—if Clydesdales were fifty feet tall and had silver, scale-like skin that shimmered like diamonds in the sunlight.” These creatures were incredibly interesting and mystical, and the world-building was spectacular.
The book starts out with a prologue that grabs your attention from the very start and keeps it until the epic climax. In the end, there were twists and turns, which made it an exciting conclusion to an excellent story. It would be a wonderful choice for a book club, and so fun for a discussion. I kept wanting to find out what was going to happen to Ava, and I highly recommend this book for all middle-grade fans. Going on this thrilling adventure with Ava was such a pleasure, and I hope others will enjoy reading it as much as I did.
Click here to read a sample.
For another excellent review by teen reader, Georgie Bartlett, click here.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Georgie Bartlett is a teen living in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina with her family and two mischievous rescue dogs. She enjoys writing, crocheting, journaling, gardening, playing the drums, and above all, reading.
Make sure you check out other great middle-grade books on Greg Pattridge's Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday blog.