Review by Giselle Carlos, 16

Strange Creatures By Phoebe North

Annie and Jamie aren’t just brother and sister; they’re two halves of one soul, born a year apart yet twins in every way. Since Annie’s birth, they have spent every moment together, tied together by an unbreakable bond. Together, they create Gumlea, a fantasy world stitched together by their own imagination and built over the course of almost a decade. But as Jamie grows on the brink of teenhood, he drifts away from Gumlea, ready to leave his childhood, including Gumlea, behind. Annie and Jamie grow distant as Jamie ages and redesigns himself. Then, without warning, Jamie disappears. As the years pass in the wake of his disappearance, Annie is forced to keep moving and grow up, all those around her believing that Jamie is dead. And as much as the evidence points against the fact, Annie feels Jamie is alive and well… and the weight to find a way to bring him back grows each day.

Strange Creatures is a beautiful ode to childhood and adolescence, told from the point of view of Annie, Jamie, and Vidya, a girl whom they both come to love. A deliciously slow burn, author Phoebe North paints a portrait of growing old and struggling in the midst of a heartbreaking loss while trying to discover oneself. North’s writing is near perfect as they paint a vivid portrait of each of the lives they follow. The characters practically jump off the page and the storyline is powerful and world-turning. It is a daring novel, a story as much about magic as it is about finding yourself and the unrivaled love of two siblings. It is not so much a story with talking rabbits and wands, but a different kind of magic, the indescribable magic that comes not from outwardly actions, but from within one’s own mind. This is a story that will stay with you long after finished, one that filled me to the brim with a sense of wholeness while simultaneously making me feel broken. TRIGGER WARNING: The novel is recommended for teens 15 and older as it contains mentions of non graphic sexual assault, sexual acts, language, and teen partying, and brief mentions of suicide.

5 stars.

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Catalog Number: YA M NORTH,P

532 pages

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