* Last day to enter to win a BOX of middle grade ARC's! Click Here
Welcome to Middle Grade Monday! Today I have a review of a delightful book, The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blackmore.
Ephraim Appledore-Smith is a normal kid whose been displaced by his father's stroke. For his dad's rehabilitation they have moved to Crystal Springs, Maine. The site of an ancestral home that the locals named the Water Castle. The house is odd, with strange rooms, weird sounds and eerie blue lights.
Mallory Green is the daughter of the Water Castle's caretaker. She has grown up hearing all the fantastical stories about the castle and only wishes to be left alone, but Ephraim can't do that. He hears tale of magic waters hidden within the castle that could restore his father to full health, and seeks out Mallory to guide him in his search.
Together with another school-mate named Will, they seek out clues from the past to find the fountain of youth.
This is a great book. I loved the mix of science and magic that the author interwove throughout the story. We have Ephraim, a young boy who feels totally out of place at a new school. He tries to fit in, but finds himself a laughing stock. At home, he works with his brother and sister to discover all the secrets of the Water Castle, but when he hears about a supposed fountain of youth, he seeks out Mallory.
Mallory is a great character. Her mother has left the family and Mallory is bitter. She is also upset that her parents raised her on what she believes to be fairy tales. When Ephraim comes to her for help, it is all she can do not to run. She is a well developed character that readers will relate too. Her family history is a fun twist and a touching part of the story.
The other thing I love about the novel is that the author takes us back and forth in time. We read the journals of one of Mallory's ancestors that involves the original search for the magic water. In the present, we follow the children as they discover clues left over from the ancestor and resolve old family wounds. This is a fantastical journey that really helps stretch a child's imagination and knowledge.