Friday, February 20, 2015

Witherwood Reform School Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Today I'm taking part in the blog tour for  Witherwood Reform School, a new middle grade series from Obert Skye! Check out my review below and enter win a copy of your own!

by Obert Skye
♦publisher: Henry Holt & Co
♦release date: March 3rd, 2015
♦hardcover, 240 pages
♦intended audience: Middle Grade
♦series: Witherwood Reform School, book 1
♦source: from publisher for honest review
After a slight misunderstanding involving a horrible governess, oatmeal, and a jar of tadpoles, siblings Tobias and Charlotte Eggars find themselves abandoned by their father at the gates of a creepy reform school. Evil mysteries are afoot at Witherwood, where the grounds are patrolled by vicious creatures after dark and kids are locked in their rooms. Charlotte and Tobias soon realize that they are in terrible danger—especially because the head of Witherwood has perfected the art of mind control.

If only their amnesiac father would recover and remember that he has two missing children. If only Tobias and Charlotte could solve the dark mystery and free the kids at Witherwood—and ultimately save themselves.

Review: Witherwood Reform School kicks off a fun series about two clever and mischievous siblings and a little tough-love punishment that goes horribly awry.  When Tobias and Charlotte’s tricks send their ill-mannered nanny running, their father leaves them at the bottom of a mesa and drives away.  His plan was to leave them long enough to scare them and then return, but when his car skids off the road, his memory is lost and  the two kids find themselves abandoned.  They find their way to Witherwood, and once inside, the sinister reform school refuses to let them go.

While this one read a little younger than I expected (I would say perfect age for this is probably 8-10, and those who enjoyed Spiderwick or Series of Unfortunate Events), I enjoyed the dark twisting plot and the sibling relationship.  Tobias and Charlotte were realistic kids trying to find their way out of a horrible situation, sometimes succeeding, but also sometimes making choices that dig themselves even deeper. They both had their individual strengths and cleverness, though I might have like to know a little more about where some of their skills came from, like Tobias’s  knowledge of how to make a key from a bedspring and Charlotte’s exceptional hearing.  I also really liked the chapter-leading narrators voice, tempting the reader on with funny little quips and hints about what’s about to happen. 

It’s a creative story with lots of ups and downs and daring escapes, though I do wish a little more had been revealed about  the school’s  dark purposes by the end. It was a fun read and a good start to a new series.

Obert Skye is the author and illustrator of the Creature from My Closet series: Wonkenstein, Potterwookiee, Pinocula, and Katfish. He has also written the bestselling children’s fantasy adventure series Leven Thumps and Pillage. He currently lives indoors and near a thin, winding road with his family. 


Enter to win a copy of Witherwood Reform School!
•US mailing address only please
•Ends 3/5/15 

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  1. I enjoyed the review and would love to read this with my son (and daughter, too). My son has been slow to love reading, so I try my best to find books to pique his interest. THIS book is right down his alley (and mine, too).

  2. I have a soft spot for middle grade books, like A Series of Unfortunate Events, All the Wrong Questions and Spiderwick Chronicles...they are my guilty pleasure and I read them when I need to unplug or while I'm reading something heavy to have some fun! So I'm really looking forward to this new series! Hope I get to read it soon!

  3. Yay :D Great review Becky. <3 I'm not sure this book would be for me.. but it do look all kinds of amazing, still :D I'm glad you enjoyed it, despite it not being fully perfect :) Thank you for sharing about this book sweetie. <3

  4. This sounds like an interesting book that a couple of my grandchildren would love to read. They are always looking for good books to read and this one sounds pretty good.

  5. Thanks for the review, it sounds like a fun read!

  6. This sounds adorable! I loved A Series of Unfortunate Events growing up--MG with a bit of a darker side is just perfect. Maybe the next book will have a bit more of the background you're hoping for! :)

  7. This sounds like great book for my 9 year old to read. We could both read it and discuss! The story sounds mysterious and interesting.

  8. Normally I don't read middle grade novels, but this looks really cute! Thanks for sharing!