cover image Imaginalis


J.M. DeMatteis, HarperCollins/Tegen, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-173286-7

In a sure-footed fantasy from DeMatteis (the Abadazad series), Mehera Beatrice Crosby is a precocious and enthusiastic 12-year-old who is wholeheartedly obsessed with the Imaginalis book series. She is the epitome of a loyal reader, and when she finds out that the series has been canceled, she is bereft and does everything in her power to resurrect her favorite characters, including trying to contact them: "Sure, it was a mystery—bigger and better than any Nancy Drew had ever faced—but I was going to solve it." She discovers that Uncle Nossyss the elephant, dashing Prince Imagos, Prognostica the Nebulous Seer, and other beloved characters are trapped in Nolandia and are slowly disappearing, requiring Mehera to build an Unbelievable Bridge to Earth to save them. While the book borrows several concepts from The Neverending Story (namely that the reader becomes a character in the book and that "the whole universe is just a story"), the well-drawn characters, abundant action and humor, and hopeful message about the power of reading and belief keep it afloat. Ages 8–12. (July)