Suitcase of Stars by Pierdomenico Baccalario
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from Net Galley for a review.
I really enjoyed reading Suitcase of Stars. It's an interesting tale about a boy, Finley McPhee, who gets caught skipping school and must spend the summer working around his village as restitution. While working as a postman, Finley meets Aiby Lily, a girl surrounded by mystery and secrets.
The story is set in modern-day Applecross, a small village in northwest Scotland. According to Finley, life in Applecross was boring until Aiby and her family arrived. Since then it's one curious event after another, bringing Finley and Aiby together in friendship. As the relationship between the two friends strengthens, Aiby confides in Finley about her family's history, including why she and her father moved Applecross.
I enjoyed every thing about the story -- the setting, the characters, and the plot - as far-fetched as it may seem at times - and the intertwining of folk tales and local legends with modern-day. Perhaps my favorite part of the book are the illustrations which include pictures of magical objects and explanations of what the objects do, who they were created by, and so on. The illustrations give the book an other-worldly feel and make the storyline more interesting.
It appears Suitcase of Stars is part of a series of books (it's labeled #1 and the ending of the book is set up as the beginning of another story), so I look forward to the reading future books in this series. I also look forward to adding this series to my school library collection and recommending it to students who enjoy fantasy.
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For more information about Applecross, Scotland:
Wikipedia article on Applecross
Applecross Heritage website
Applecross Walks website