Pages and Co. by Anna James
Publication date: 18 September 2018
Genre: Middle grade fantasy
Page count: 400 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.
I had heard so much hype for this incredibly sweet middle grade novel and knew I had to have it. I love books about books so I was bound to fall in love with Pages and Co., but I don’t think I could have anticipated how much I’d adore it.
A magical adventure to delight the imagination. A curl-up-on-the-sofa debut from a uniquely talented author.
Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparents’ bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favourite stories.
One day Tilly realises that classic children’s characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering’ – crossing over from the page into real life.
With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face.
Pages and Co. Is the kind of book that hits you straight in the childhood and bookworm feels. James does an amazing job of pulling the reader straight into the book’s setting by making it feel so familiar and comfortable. The bookshop Pages and Co. has the most wonderful world building in that it feels like somewhere we’ve all been — it’s as though every amazing bookshop you’ve ever visited was rolled into one gorgeous place. I’m a little sad that it doesn’t actually exist because I’d love to go and spend an afternoon or two there.
I have to admit that I was a little surprised by how well constructed the plot of Pages and Co. was. Every reader wants to tumble into their favourite book and I feel that these kinds of stories aren’t anything new. It would have been really easy to just lean into the nostalgia and the fantasy of book wandering without developing much in the way of story, however James managed to make the plot of Pages and Co. really stand out as something special and fresh. There’s so much more going on here than just book wandering — although I absolutely loved learning more about the rules and regulations of book wandering and how one’s abilities manifest. The detail around this magic is absolutely wonderful and it compliments the plot so well. The mystery of Tilly’s mum’s disappearance is so incredibly gripping and adds an amazing element of mystery to the story.
If you love reading, books, fierce heroines, friendships between boys and girls, or books all about family, you’ll absolutely love Pages and Co. It’s an absolute charming read that I can see myself returning to again and again. If I had this book as a child, I think it would have been just as influential as books like Harry Potter or The Phantom Tollbooth.
Want to pick up Pages and Co.? You can find it at the following sites (affiliate links):