The World-Famous Nine

Little, Brown/Christy Ottaviano. Jan. 2024. 384p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780316484442.
Gr 4-6–Zander Olinga is off to spend the next five weeks of summer at his grandmother’s world-famous department store, The Number Nine Plaza, while his parents are on a research trip in Kamchatka, Russia. Within hours of Zander’s arrival, The Nine is abuzz with news about strange and dangerous things happening. The electricity is on the fritz, and an employee is attacked. Zander’s grandmother, Zina, tells him the story about a magical mandala that was gifted to the first Winebee matriarch by Nepali monks. However, the mandala was stolen 90 years ago and hidden in The Nine. Zina suspects the mandala is being hunted by Darkbloom, an evil spirit who wishes harm on The Nine. Zander, with the help of a new friend, Natasha Novikov, goes on a search for the mandala using clues left by his great-granduncle, Vladimir. The Nine is a fantastical place full of shops and activities that will surely tickle readers’ imaginations. However, Zander’s exploration of the plaza often competes with the mystery of the missing mandala.
VERDICT A promising novel with attention-grabbing elements and a high-stakes hunt for a magical object, that unfortunately gets lost in heavily detailed descriptions, a large cast of side characters, and an inconsistent time line.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing