FICTION

Havenfall

Bloomsbury. Mar. 2020. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781547603794.
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Gr 9 Up–Maddie Morrow is a pariah at home—the girl whose mother killed her brother. Havenfall, the family inn, is the only place she feels like herself. There, magical realms are connected via tunnels, and every summer solstice the inn hosts a trade and negotiation summit between them. Maddie hopes to take over the inn from her Uncle Marcus one day. When a sealed tunnel to a realm of magical monsters is opened and her uncle is attacked, Maddie must keep the summit going, track down a monster, and learn about the power plays by realm dignitaries. Aided by a mysterious new employee named Taya and her friend Brekken from the Fiordenkill realm, Maddie fights to save the inn and the balance between the realms. As mysteries about her past are revealed, Maddie is torn between her attraction to Brekken, who she fears betrayed her, and Taya, who is searching for her brother and can understand the pain of losing a sibling. The realms are described briefly in a second-hand manner, as very few humans survive visiting them. The story is a combination of issues and mystery, with a touch of fantasy on the side. The narrative captures all the apprehension and anxiety of suddenly taking on an adult role in life. The ambiguous ending leaves room for a sequel.
VERDICT A suspenseful, engaging tale of a young woman trying to unravel her past to save her future. A solid purchase for young adults.

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