Synopsis from Macmillan Publishers:
Writing as A. Deborah Baker, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Seanan McGuire introduces readers to a world of talking trees and sarcastic owls, of dangerous mermaids and captivating queens in Over the Woodward Wall, an exceptional tale for readers who are young at heart.
If you trust her you’ll never make it home…
A 2021 Locus Award Finalist!
Avery is an exceptional child. Everything he does is precise, from the way he washes his face in the morning, to the way he completes his homework – without complaint, without fuss, without prompt.
Zib is also an exceptional child, because all children are, in their own way. But where everything Avery does and is can be measured, nothing Zib does can possibly be predicted, except for the fact that she can always be relied upon to be unpredictable.
They live on the same street.
They live in different worlds.
On an unplanned detour from home to school one morning, Avery and Zib find themselves climbing over a stone wall into the Up and Under – an impossible land filled with mystery, adventure and the strangest creatures.
And they must find themselves and each other if they are to also find their way out and back to their own lives.
About: Over the Woodward Wall is a middle grade fantasy written by A. Deborah Baker (pen name for Seanan McGuire). It was published on 10/6/2020 by Tor.com, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers, hardcover, 208 pages. The genres are middle grade fiction, fantasy, and adventures. There are two books to The Up-and-Under series: book one is Over the Woodward Wall and book two is Along the Saltwise Sea. According to the publisher’s website, “Tor.com Publishing, an imprint for science fiction and fantasy novellas and novels, a line that provides a home for emerging and established writers to tell focused, engaging stories in exactly the number of words they choose. Most of our titles are available globally in print and DRM-free ebook format.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading Over the Woodward Wall on 9/21/2021 and finished it on 9/30/2021. An interesting start, this story caught my full attention when the large owl spoke. The characters were well liked even though they were very different. This book was different in a way that the author or narrator seemed to talk to readers. The improbable road disappearing was interesting. I liked the Crow Girl’s magic, it reminded me of a character in Renegades by Marissa Meyer, but that character were butterflies while this one are crows. I liked Niamh’s magic as well. I liked how the author had the characters analyzed things like the heart, being safe, and more but I forgot to note it down. Now I see why many readers has those tabs on pages of the book! The term murder of crows as a description for many crows was interesting. I rarely hear of it.
This book started with two ordinary children in an ordinary town living on the same street without knowing each other. They both attended schools in opposite directions. One was named Hepzibah aka Zib and the other named Avery. The parents of Zib still waiting on Zib to grow into her name while Avery’s parents were satisfied with their son. Avery liked to spend his time at the library while Zib liked to catch frogs at the creek by her house. Avery was responsible and woke up on time for school while Zib forgot to set her alarm and woke up late. They always take the same route to school except this morning there were unexpected construction blocking the road. They had to take a detour route and stumbled upon a wall never seen before. They both climbed up the wall and fall onto the other side. They finally met and introduced to each other even though they only lived 3 blocks away. As Avery was arguing about how Zib is not a normal name, a big owl neither ever seen before spoke to them. The children then went on an adventure to find the Impossible City and the Queen of Wands for the way home. There’s an epilogue at the end to inform readers about the status of the children’s parents.
Over the Woodward Wall was well written and developed. Loved the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter and behind the book cover as well as the book cover. There was an inconsistency with the owl named Oak delivering Zib from her fall to the ground. On page 134, the owl took her to the ground and they said their farewell and then the owl took off up the sky again. On page 166, readers get the impression that the owl was still flying when the King of Cups lashed out at them and the owl cried out. If Zib was delivered to the ground, I thought she ran into the King of Cubs by mistake but it wasn’t the case. Despite the inconsistency, this book was an enjoyable read nonetheless. Great adventures and magic. I’m excited to read the sequel called Along the Saltwise Sea. I recommend everyone to read this book!
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author:
A. Deborah Baker is a pen-name of Seanan McGuire, the author of the Hugo, Nebula, Alex, and Locus Award-winning Wayward Children series, the October Daye series, the InCryptid series, and other works. She also writes darker fiction as Mira Grant. Seanan lives in Seattle with her cats, a vast collection of creepy dolls, horror movies, and sufficient books to qualify her as a fire hazard. She won the 2010 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and in 2013 became the first person to appear five times on the same Hugo ballot. (Photo obtained from the author’s Goodreads’ account and Info obtained from Tor.com’s website).
More Information about Tor.com
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Tor.com for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.