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Annotation: When her mother disappears and a menacing stranger tries to claim her home, Brightwood Hall, for himself, Daisy must use her wits, courage, and help from her imaginary friends to survive.
Catalog Number: #130959
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Workman Pub. Co.
Copyright Date: 2016
Edition Date: 2016
Pages: 261 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-616-20330-7
ISBN 13: 978-1-616-20330-6
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016017356
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Daisy Fitzhugh was born in Brightwood Hall and has lived in the confines of the house and grounds her entire brief life. The huge, rambling ancestral home is packed with food, supplies, and shelf after shelf of shoe box-sized containers that hold items to preserve the memory of each day. One morning, Daisy wakes up to find that her mother is gone; by nightfall, she hasn't come back. Then her mother's cousin James Gritting arrives, and he has a plan for Brightwood Hall that does not include Daisy or her mother. With only her talking rat, Tar, and the ghost of a girl explorer (who calls herself Frank) to help, Daisy desperately tries to drive him away. The tension builds as Gritting demonstrates that he will go to any length to get Brightwood Hall, and Daisy slowly realizes that what seemed like an enchanted, safe world is really a kind of prison. Beautiful, evocative writing brings Daisy's world to life, and readers will empathize with Daisy and admire her courage and resourcefulness.
School Library Journal
Gr 46 Daisy Fitzjohn has never seen the world beyond the walls of Brightwood Hall in her entire 11-year-old life. Alone with her wealthy mother in their decaying mansion, she keeps company with imaginary friends and a pet rat, completely unaware of the uniqueness of her situation. Her circumstances quickly change on the day her mother leaves for the store and never returns. Daisy is then visited by a strange man claiming to be a relative, who may have something to do with her mother's disappearance and may want Brightwood Hall for himself. The novel opens with the gripping tale of the death of Daisy's mother's family, which explains her mother's fear of letting Daisy leave the mansion's compound. There are creative introductions to Daisy's imaginary friends, who include a bossy little boy from a painting, a topiary horse, and a fierce explorer. After such a strong start, however, the plot is slow to evolve. Patient readers will still appreciate the sinister setting and resilient female protagonist; this could be a nice read-alike for fans of Jonathan Auxier's The Night Gardener or Neil Gaiman's Coraline . VERDICT A solid purchase for middle grade students who enjoy creepy stories with elements of magical realism. Pilar Okeson, Washington,DC Public Library
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (9/1/16)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
School Library Journal (8/1/16)
Word Count: 47,086
Reading Level: 5.1
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.1 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 183692 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.4 / points:13.0 / quiz:Q69231
Lexile: 720L
Guided Reading Level: M

In this spine-tingling tale, a girl fights to save her home and her life from a mysterious stranger. Daisy Fitzjohn knows there are two worlds: the outside world and the world of her home, a secluded mansion called Brightwood Hall. But only Brightwood is real for Daisy--she's never once set foot outside its grounds. Daisy and her mother have everything they need within Brightwood's magnificent, half-ruined walls, including Daisy's best friends: a talking rat named Tar and the ghost of a long-ago explorer who calls herself Frank. When Daisy's mother leaves one morning, a peculiar visitor, James Gritting, arrives on the estate, claiming to be a distant cousin. But as the days tick by and Daisy's mother doesn't return, Gritting becomes more and more menacing. He wants Brightwood for himself, and he will do anything to get it. Tania Unsworth takes readers on a twisting, heart-pounding journey through dark corridors and wild woods to a place where the line between imagination and madness is sometimes hard to find.

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