North of Nowhere, by Liz Kessler, for Timeslip Tuesday

Sometimes the fact that I'm reviewing a book for Timeslip Tuesday is a spoiler right then and there, and deprives the future reader of discovering that for themselves as part of the natural unfolding of the book's mystery, I'm sorry about that.   I console myself by thinking that a.  people are reading this who are gatekeepers, who might want mysterious time travel books to offer their young charges, and b.  people who might read it for themselves might actually be more likely too if they know there is time travel involved...

I myself did not know when I picked up North of Nowhere, by Liz Kessler (Candlewick, Middle Grade, August 2013), what was going to happen.  Mia and her mother arrive in a small fishing village in Cornwall, to help out her grandmother after her grandfather disappears.  Lonely and bored, Mia wanders the beach...where she finds another girl's diary tucked inside the cupboard of a fishing boat, and writes a greeting in it.

After Dee, whose diary it is, manages to forgive Mia's transgression, and they become friends through the notes they write each other--actually meeting face to face is hard, because Dee lives out on an isolated island, and her father won't take her to the mainland when bad weather threatens.

But Mia has made another new friend, a boy named Peter....and his fancy is caught by the thought that he might bring the two girls together.  And so he sets sail himself, to Dee's island...

And that's all I'll say, except that this where things get beautifully twisted! 

It's a quite sort of mystery adventure--things unfold, and more pieces of complication are revealed, and there's a rather gripping bit of true danger, which makes for good reading.   Though the ending is positively odd, and takes considerable swallowing on the part of all concerned (characters and me as reader), it all makes sense.  More or less, and rather sudden, but still fine.

Mia's a likable. believable 12 year old, her pen-pal friendship with Dee is fascinating, and there's a lovely sense of place to it all.   This is one that's perfect for the dreamy, introspective girl reader, who might possibly be a little lonely herself, but it's also good for those who like their time travel to take place person by person, with unfathomable magic gradually taking over their lives...

Other reviews at Jen Robinson's Book Page, and Random Musings of a Bibliophile

disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher


  1. I might not have picked this one up if you hadn't mentioned it. The Emily Windsnap books by this authir are okkay, but this does sound fun. Still having trouble interesting my students in time travel, though!

  2. I thought this one was lovely, too, although the ending was a little hard to swallow!

  3. I feel b. sometimes. Yes, the element is a bit spoilery, but people are so much more likely to pick it up if they know it's going to happen!

  4. I was going to mention this one to you, Charlotte, but didn't want to spoil it by mentioning the time travel. Glad you found it anyway. I thought this one was a lot of fun. Thanks for linking to my review.

  5. It sounds good! I don't mind being spoiled on plot anyway, so I'm really pleased you reviewed this. Candlewick is not a perfectly reliable publisher, but they're more reliable than most. Always with the strange, inventive, wonderful plots.

  6. Oh I remember reviewing this book a few months back and I loved it to pieces. It's a keeper. :)


Free Blog Counter

Button styles