In a fairy story that’s wistful, humorous, and clever, Booraem (The Unnameables) suggests that the real world–with its disappointments and failings–is still better than living with illusions. When five-year-old Mellie Turpin tells her kindergarten classmates that there’s a fairy living in her bedroom, it leads the Parvi Pennati–a Small Person with Wings––to move out in anger, as well as years of torment and bullying for Mellie. After her estranged grandfather dies and her family inherits an inn and moves, Mellie, now 13, hopes her life will turn around. Unfortunately, the inn is infested with Parvi, and Mellie’s parents tell her the family has a thousand-year-old pact to provide a home for the creatures. Before long, Mellie is turned into a frog, a walking mannequin tries to take over the world, and a potential friend learns all about Mellie’s previous humiliations. There are serious threads about bullying and alcoholism, and several flawed characters; as in life, many problems are never fully solved, just exchanged for new ones. The theme of making progress, rather than ignoring problems, is a strong one, gently presented. Ages 10–up. (Jan.)
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