Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Do You See What I See?

The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows by Jacqueline West was a book I could really connect to, especially the setting. The main character, Olive, moves into an old, creepy house with her mathematician parents. Alone to explore the house, Olive enjoys looking through old items and finds a unique pair of spectacles that change the way she sees things once she puts them on. Instead of making her vision clearer though, what Olive notices is that the paintings hanging everywhere throughout the manor are now “different”. With the help of some talking animals, and the magical glasses Olive ventures into a world hidden within the paintings and discovers that things are not always what they seem. She doesn’t know who to trust and she has no one to talk to about her worries, so she has to rely on her instincts and hope for the best. Will Olive be able to get out of the paintings? Are the cats telling her the truth? Has she opened up a world that would be better left alone? Wait until you find out!

I recommend this book to kids between 3rd and 6th grade. If you like scary stories and trying to figure out mysteries than this is a story you will certainly enjoy. I think Olive is a bit lonely and the adventures she encounters definitely add excitement to her life. I like that she gets to test herself and her character as she struggles to figure out her new house and its mysteries. I felt like I knew Olive’s house after exploring the Begonia House- we could certainly share stories about spooky houses and their secrets! I feel lucky that I had the DMS to help me explore and hope that Olive will find a friend that she can trust in the books that follow in what is sure to be a magical series!

Has anyone else read The Books to Elsewhere series? Or another book by Jacqueline West?

Happy reading!


  1. I can definitely relate to Olive in that big, spooky house, that's for sure! ~ F

  2. I haven't read this book- but the cover looks awesome. I love books that take place in spooky houses- so many things can happen. I will have to see if I can get this book. I love your review.

  3. Hi Stephanie, I have heard of Jacqueline West yet somehow haven't read her books yet. I'll start with this one. Love spooky houses, frightened, lonely child protagonists, paintings and cats. In many ways, the plot and characters sound a lot like Gaiman's CORALINE, so I'm curious to find out their differences and intricacies.

    Thanks for the review!

    CarryUsOff Books

  4. I read this book last year. I really liked the house and thought it was cool and creepy that Olive could go into the paintings. I would love to find a pair of glasses that let me see the world in a new way! Awesome review.

  5. Claudine and Elaine-
    Can't wait to hear your thoughts on this book! Enjoy!



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