Author: Tanya Karen Gough
Genre: YA Fantasy
How far will you go to find your way home?
Emma and her father are always on the move, travelling from place to place as her father’s work demands. Their new home, however, is different. There’s a frightening woman who lives down the hall: she bears an uncanny resemblance to a witch. A mysterious light comes from her apartment, and a small boy seems to be trapped inside.
School in this town is no happy place either, with an odd principal and a gang of girls who make tormenting Emma their special project. And strangest of all is the fact that there seem to be brownies – basement brownies, in the air vent in her bedroom.
Haunted by visions of her mother, Emma travels through the brownie burrow to the valley of Hades to visit with the goddess Ceres, following a series of clues that lead her across the sea of memory to the centre of the world.
There, on an inhospitable rock floating in a sea of steaming lava, Emma must find a way to release her mother from the sea of memory and restore magic to both the brownie burrow and the human world above.
This book was amazing. It is, without a doubt, the best book I’ve read all year, and I’ve read a series of excellent books so far. Emma is an amazing character. When she moves with her Dad to a new apartment building, the last in a series of frequent moves, she doesn’t know what to make of it – the building feels like it has a life of its own. Emma starts having strange dreams about her mother…
Then Emma meets the Brownies, and although she’s not supposed to see them, she does. They live under her apartment building, and they need her help. The Brownies were actually pretty hilarious, especially since they each had a distinct personality, name and characteristics, which I hadn’t expected at all.
Emma is mature for her age, and she’s a clever person, but taken into account the setting, the brownies and their hilariousness, I’d recommend this to the lower age range of young adult, or upper middle grade even. It’s a light-hearted read for the most part, and very imaginative and at times, downright hilarious.