The Gloom by Piper Kelley
Genre: Fantasy/Middle Grade
I have a special weakness for YA material and this has been one of my more enjoyable reads. In it, a young girl’s mother left her and her father years before. The girl (Poppy), as a result, formed a close bond with her father, who never really got over his wife leaving them. She also lives with a younger half sister she adores and a stepmother she has some issues with. After getting yelled at for a hair cutting mishap, Poppy retreats to her backyard where she ends up getting kidnapped by an ornery Pixie.
From there, Kelley takes you into a magical world where mythical creatures live as Poppy is forced to rescue a mother she doesn’t want to know. If she ever wants to be returned to her family, she must travel into the Gloom and face being trapped in one of the camps that has been set up in the area. It reminds me a lot of the labor camps that were part of Nazi Germany. Manned by trolls, the people are hungry, sick and miserable and the few who’ve escaped would rather die than return.
Filled with interesting and fun characters, this story is definitely a page turner and I believe it will appeal to not only tweens, but YA readers of all ages.