Today I have a review and giveaway for Witherwood Reform School by Obert Skye!
If you have been following the blog, you already know that I enjoy all genres of fiction. Reading level is irrelevant. I love anything from picture books on up and I always have. When I saw Witherwood Reform School, I thought it would be worth checking out, so I was happy to hop on the blog tour. I haven’t read Obert Skye previously, but I have heard of his Pillage trilogy and have it on my TBR. Witherwood Reform School is the start of a new series about Tobias and Charlotte Eggars, a brother and sister who get themselves into more trouble than they’ve ever been in before. And to think it all started with tadpoles and gravy!
Tobias and Charlotte are mischievous kids, and they’ve already managed to drive off several governesses. Their latest, Martha, is like a thorn in their sides. She’s lazy, mean, and after threatening harm to Charlotte, Tobias has had enough. He very cleverly sneaks tadpoles into the gravy, fully expecting to be amused when Martha runs screaming from the house. What he doesn’t expect is for her to choke on a mouthful of mashed potatoes, hurl up the grossly contaminated gravy, and run screaming from the house – right as Ralph, the kids’ put-upon father, returns home early from work. Ralph is not in a good mood; he’s just been fired from another job, and his children are the last straw. He orders them into the car, drives out to the middle of nowhere, and drops them off at the gates of Witherwood Reform School. Then he leaves them standing in the rain, intending only to give them a scare. He then gets into an accident and loses his memory. Poor Ralph! Poor Tobias! Poor Charlotte! Their lives are all about to become a lot more complicated!
There is something weird going on at Witherwood, and it’s not just the creepy teachers and scary monsters patrolling the school grounds. As Tobias and Charlotte are forced to attend classes and do dishes and slave away on KP duty, they realize that something is not right. There are guys wandering around in lab coats, singing guards walking the halls, and mysterious rooms they are told never to enter. They are locked in their room at night, and they don’t even have pillows! That right there would be reason enough for me to escape. I mean, how are you expected to get a decent night’s sleep with NO pillow?
The tone of the story is very dry, and reminded me of Lemony Snicket. Witherwood Reform School is fast paced, and a very quick read. Charlotte and Tobias are likeable protagonists, even if they have a tendency to create mayhem. They are clever, which serves them well with their attempts to escape, but also unlucky, because every attempt is foiled, leaving them in more trouble than before. My only complaint is that it reads like a serial – think of Darren Shan’s Zom-B. It ended on a cliffhanger, none of the important plot points were resolved, and it has a feeling of incompleteness. I think it will appeal equally to boys or girls, assuming they don’t mind the non-ending and are ready to follow the series for the long haul.
Obert Skye is the author and illustrator of the Creature from My Closet series: Wonkenstein, Potterwookiee, Pinocula, and Katfish (forthcoming September 2014). 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. Visit him online at abituneven.com or follow him on Twitter at @obertskye.
After a slight misunderstanding involving a horrible governess, gravy, 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 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. If only Tobias and Charlotte could solve the dark mystery and free the kids at Witherwood—and ultimately save themselves.
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2/18: Little Red Reads
2/19: A Reader’s Adventure
2/20: Stories & Sweeties
2/23: The Hiding Spot
2/24: Bumbles and Fairytales
2/25: Manga Maniac Café
2/26: The Book Monsters
2/27: Mundie Kids