cover image Always October

Always October

Bruce Coville. Harper, $15.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-089095-7

Sixth-grade best friends Jake and Lily (no relation to the headliners of Jerry Spinelli's recent Jake and Lily) narrate alternate chapters of this monster-filled adventure, chronicling their odyssey into a land they had mistakenly believed was a fictional creation of Jake's fantasy-writing grandfather. Sympathetic to each other's quirks%E2%80%94Jake's obsessive-compulsive tapping and "problem with bridges," Lily's love of macabre songs ("Cannibal Bunnies Go to the Fair")%E2%80%94they find refuge reading in their cemetery mausoleum hangout. When a baby appears on Jake's doorstep, and later transforms into a monster, the children, Lily's Grampa Gnarly, and others are forced to engage larger mysteries. Together they embark on a full-throttle race to save both the baby and the "Woven Worlds" from the Unravelers, who wish to sever ties between Humana and Always October, a place created from human imagination to "manifest and hold the fears that come with being alive." Coville (the My Teacher Is an Alien books) offers an entertaining, spine-tingling rollick as the group uncovers long-hidden secrets and discovers unknown strengths. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. (Sept.)