But Lizzie was speechless.
She simply held up the hairbrush, clumps of yellow hair dangling from it.
Minka screamed, clapping her hands to her head. But it was too late. Much of her hair had separated from her scalp, and it lay in a mound in Lizzie’s lap, like a fairy-tale pile of straw that had been spun into gold.
Lizzie is shy and nervous, but when her sister Minka falls prey to a mysterious boy at the marketplace and his strange fruit, she must investigate what’s going on and rescue her.
I’ve not read Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market,” but I am familiar with its plot and was excited to see how Zahler would interpret it in this middle school book and this Polish setting. Still, I found myself rather surprised with how quickly I got sucked into this book!
Lizzie is a compelling lead, an intrepid child with a lot of love for her family and friends. Her bond with Minka is quite evident throughout the story, which is important as it serves as the keystone of the entire tale. I also liked Lizzie’s synesthesia and how it was used in the story.
I also liked how the writing was dark and atmospheric without getting too frightening – the author manages to strike a balance where a young reader would be creeped out but not terribly frightened, and the good endings all round certainly help with that.
Overall, a really enjoyable read for both young and old readers.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. This is my honest and voluntary review.