The Plentiful Darkness

Holt. Aug. 2021. 256p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250764003.
Gr 3-6–Rooney De Barra’s life is difficult: She’s an orphan living on the streets with only rats for company. Having been rejected by the Roughhouse Boys, the ragtag group of parentless children who terrorize the town, she lives in a desperate competition to collect moonlight which she sells to buy food. It seems like life couldn’t get much worse for Rooney, until it does. She catches the eye of the witch who stalks the town and finds herself flung into the Plentiful Darkness: a place where all seasons of the year exist, but only in nighttime mode. Ruling this place is Sorka of the Darkness, whose subjects include children who have disappeared from the town without a trace. Soon joined in the murk by her nemesis Trick Aidan, Rooney struggles to learn how to deal with this strange new place, only to discover the reason Sorka is trapped here and why it may mean none of them will ever see the light of day again. Part spooky, part fantastical, this is a strange little tale that weaves in important life lessons without being preachy, and features an impatient heroine who struggles with her flaws even as she’s trying to work her way out of the void. The unrelenting darkness is an interesting concept, but hinders world-building to a certain extent. Readers who enjoy Adam Gidwitz’s “Grimm” series will enjoy this title too.
VERDICT Purchase where shivery fantasy for tweens is in demand.

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