Sunday 3 May 2020

What I Thought About Tilly and the Bookwanderers (Pages & Co #1)

Title: Tilly and the Bookwanderers
Series: Pages & Co
Author: Anna James
Publication Date: September 18th, 2018
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Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparents' bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favourite stories.

One day Tilly realises that classic children's characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering' - crossing over from the page into real life.
With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face.


I am still an avid fan of Middle Grade reads, most of the time seeking a fun and easy reading experience. In most cases, I can say that the middle grade books I’ve picked up have definitely succeeded on that front. So do I also feel the same way about Tilly and the Bookwanderers? 

The synopsis of Tilly and the Bookwanderer was what initially pulled me in. I was rather intrigued by the concept of book wandering, in that Tilly has the ability to converse with her favourite book characters in real life as well as travel into a book world and be a part of the stories. Isn’t this the childhood dream we all had? Or still have, I mean come on, I would love to magically transport in and out of Hogwarts please. So I jumped into this with much excitement on what adventures Tilly would get into and how she would interact with the characters and stories of the books she was travelling to.

I guess my expectations for Tilly and the Bookwanderer set me up for, not disappointment, but also kind of? I found that despite Tilly was able to wander in and out of books, a lot of the story was actually set in the real world, which was a shame. Yes, there are a few moments of seeing Tilly being involved in book stories but I would’ve liked for more of that. If anything, I think the book was able to explain the ability of book wandering really well but by telling us rather than showing. If Tilly was able to travel in and out more it would’ve been a great way of showing us why she can bookwander, what she can do within the books and if there were any effects or consequences from it. I do however, like the logic behind bookwandering, as it really places emphasis on relationships between books and individuals. So many of us readers hold a number of books in our hearts for numerous reasons, including the storyline or characters, and James is able to convey that quite well in Tilly and the Bookwanderer. It really promotes the importance of reading and what people, especially children, can get out of reading.

I did come to realise that this was the 1st book in a duology though, which has me hoping that want I wanted from Tilly and the Bookwanderer might be included in its sequel. Potentially this book was more of an introduction, hence a larger portion of the book reserved to explaining and learning about bookwandering and instead. I will get around to reading the 2nd book, but haven’t really felt the urgency to quickly dive back into this world. I will say though, that I think younger readers will enjoy this. I just expected more due to my reading experience, but wouldn’t say this wasn’t fun overall. I liked that it was set in a cozy bookstore, which created warmth when I was reading and liked the additional themes of family and friendship.

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