The Changelings by Christina Soontornvat
This book was a fabulous middle grade adventure ride. The set-up for the novel makes it accessible to many readers. The pacing flows at just the right speed to keep a young reader drawn to the story. I was able to get through the whole tale in a lazy Sunday. There are also all kinds of interactive extras while you read over at the publisher website.
There was nothing groundbreaking here, the land and characters come from the classic fairy tale fables. The author didn't try to update them or morph them into a hybrid of any kind. She left them alone to be what they naturally are. The innocence at this reading level is just so refreshing. I wish I found it more often in adult fiction to be honest.
The characters had depth and personality. I enjoyed every character that crossed Izzy's path, even the ones you're not supposed to like. Not everything is happy all the time in the book, but there is fun and adventure that saves the day. I just always had to find out what was around the corner. The interactions between the group kept you turning pages as well.
The story is a non-stop ride of adventure. I just wanted to be a part of it. The ending even concluded with some hopeful openings of possible adventures in the future. I would support those adventures wholeheartedly.