Monday, October 26, 2009

New Release: Spellbinder

I know that many of us have the guilty (or not so guilty) pleasure of enjoying youth and YA fantasy books. These books take you away to another place, a world of magic and mystery. The only thing more magical than re-visiting a favorite book or series is finding a new favorite. My new favorite is the newly released Spellbinder by Helen Stringer -- and I can only hope that it will become a series!

From the publisher --
Belladonna Johnson can see ghosts. It's a trait she's inherited from her mother's side of the family, like blue eyes or straight hair. And it's a trait she could do without, because what twelve-year-old wants to be caught talking to someone invisible? It is convenient, though, after Belladonna's parents are killed in a car accident. They can live with her the same as always, watching the same old TV shows in their same old house. Nothing has changed ... until everything changes.

One night, with no warning, they vanish into thin air--along with every other ghost in the world. It's what some people think ghosts are supposed to do, but Belladonna knows it's all wrong. They may not be living, but they're not supposed to be gone.

With the help of her classmate Steve, a master of sneaking and spying, Belladonna is left to uncover what's become of the spirits and to navigate a whole world her parents have kept well-hidden. If she can't find her way, she'll lose them again--this time for good.

I was interested in the story based on this description but was pleasantly surprised to find even more depth of plot and character in this middle-grade book. This is a story about love and friendship and courage. The writing is fantastic for a first novel and very smart for the age it is written for.

How could I not classify this as another R.I.P. Challenge read? ::wink:: This book happened to arrive right as I was needing one more post and so I picked it up the day after it came. Now I'm glad that I could bring this to your attention just in time for you to grab it as a last minute seasonal read, an anytime fantasy read or as a holiday gift for your favorite middle schooler. The story focuses on ghosts but also has dragons, death hounds, "Night Ravens" and sprites. There is some magic but the story also proves the strength of a good old fashioned education. And there are still a couple of loose ends that leave me hoping that the story doesn't end here!

Bound by the spell cast by this book,

Support our site and buy Spellbinder on Amazon or find it at your local library. We have an advance review copy from the publisher and will be buying our own copy of the finished book.


  1. This book sounds like a fun read, I have been suprised at how good ya books are. I will definitly keep my eye out for this one, thanks for the review!
    Big hugs, Bethxx

  2. This sounds so good. Awesome review.

  3. The cover is reminiscent of the Lemony Snicket books. I love to hear about really good YA and middle school books.