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Elizabeth and Zenobia

By: Jessica Miller

Illustrator: Yelena Bryksenkova

Abandoned by her mother and neglected by her scientist father, timid Elizabeth Murmur has only her fearless friend, Zenobia, for company. Black-and-white illustrations.

ISBN: 9781419727245

JLG Release: Oct 2017


Sensitive Areas: Violence: Mild Violence
Topics: Fantasy and magic , Mystery and detective stories , Horror and ghost stories , Ghosts , The supernatural , Fathers and daughters , Missing persons , Dwellings , Haunted places , Imaginary companions , Friendship

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Awards & Honors

Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2017, Middle Grade

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine*, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

School Library Journal

Elizabeth and Zenobia are friends. Elizabeth is timid, and Zenobia can best be described as unusual and fearless. They arrive at Witheringe House, a creepy manor where Elizabeth’s father lived as a child. Zenobia loves it at first sight and is convinced that it is haunted. Eager to make contact with any spirit presence that might be found in Elizabeth and Zenobia are friends. Elizabeth is timid, and Zenobia can best be described as unusual and fearless. They arrive at Witheringe House, a creepy manor where Elizabeth’s father lived as a child. Zenobia loves it at first sight and is convinced that it is haunted. Eager to make contact with any spirit presence that might be found in the many secret and “off-limits” spaces in the house, Zenobia immediately begins holding seances and trying to commune with the dead. Elizabeth, however, is leery, so she is relieved when Zenobia’s efforts seem unsuccessful. But strange things begin to happen in the East Wing, one of the areas that Elizabeth and Zenobia have been forbidden to explore. Flowers and vines in the wallpaper seem to come to life. The girls find a strange book whose words and images morph into different stories after the stroke of midnight. Strangest of all, Elizabeth discovers that her father had a sister, Tourmaline, who disappeared in the house when she was a young girl. With themes on courage, friendship, and imagination, Miller’s novel is spooky and inviting. Older middle grade readers who have read widely in the genre might find it predictable and lacking a satisfying climax. There are questions throughout the story dealing with Zenobia’s existence. Is or isn’t she Elizabeth’s imaginary friend? Is she a ghost? These questions will bother some readers, but others will enjoy the weirdness of it all. VERDICT Give this debut novel to readers looking for an accessible read and a bit of a scare.—Amy Caldera, Dripping Springs Middle School, TX

Horn Book

[STARRED REVIEW]
Elizabeth’s father is gloomy since her mother left; Witheringe House, his childhood home to which he returns with his daughter, is gloomier. Elizabeth’s main company is Zenobia, a vivacious, morbid, obsessed-with-clairvoyance friend who, although no one else can see or hear her, can’t be imaginary becau
[STARRED REVIEW]
Elizabeth’s father is gloomy since her mother left; Witheringe House, his childhood home to which he returns with his daughter, is gloomier. Elizabeth’s main company is Zenobia, a vivacious, morbid, obsessed-with-clairvoyance friend who, although no one else can see or hear her, can’t be imaginary because, as Zenobia reminds her, Elizabeth is too dull to have dreamed her up. Zenobia is sure the house contains a “Spirit Presence” (the correct nomenclature for ghosts), and the antics Zenobia initiates do reveal secrets from the house’s past—and then alter that past, with plenty of macabre moments along the way. Readers may never look at mirrors or wallpaper the same way again. The vaguely Victorian setting, the snootily funny exchanges between the title characters, and the frequent references to other, cozier works of literature may lull readers into a false sense of security. Zenobia’s love of Poe gives a better idea of the story’s direction, as do the Gothic-feeling black-and-white illustrations. To be read on dark and stormy nights. shoshana flax

Book Details

ISBN

9781419727245

First Release

October 2017

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

5 1/2" x 8 1/4"

Page Count

208

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.9; Points: 6;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 5.2; Points: 11;

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Amulet

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Violence: Mild Violence

Topics

Fantasy and magic, Mystery and detective stories, Horror and ghost stories, Ghosts, The supernatural, Fathers and daughters, Missing persons, Dwellings, Haunted places, Imaginary companions, Friendship,

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