The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone

Jaclyn Moriarty. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-338-25584-3

At age 10, Bronte Mettlestone receives a telegram stating that her parents have been killed by pirates. She doesn’t remember them, however, having been raised by her loving Aunt Isabelle and the butler. In her parents’ will (bound by “faery cross-stitch”) is the stipulation that she travel alone and deliver gifts to her 10 aunts. If she fails, her hometown will be in trouble. Despite the danger of running into dark mages, she begins her quest, which reads like a string of dreams. While visiting Aunt Sue, Bronte is awarded the Elvish Medal for Bravery for rescuing a baby from the river. She then saves wrongly accused Aunt Emma (who’s been imprisoned for stealing a water sprite’s pepper grinder), rides dragons with Aunt Sophy, and the list goes on. Bronte’s voice is more chatty than charming, and readers may feel frustrated that Moriarty (A Tangle of Gold) reveals details of Bronte’s history and powers only toward the end, when it feels like an afterthought. Still, the back-to-back adventures make for a speedy plot that will keep readers turning the pages. Ages 8–12. [em](Oct.) [/em]