cover image The Ever Breath

The Ever Breath

Julianna Baggott, Author . Delacorte $16.99 (229p) ISBN 978-0-

Truman Cragmeal, beset by allergies, asthma, and cowardice, has been taken with his fearless twin sister, Camille, to stay with their grandmother, Swelda, for what is meant to be a three-week stay. Despite Swelda's oddities, the children are entranced by her stories and the unearthly snow globes she gives them, which show disturbing, inexplicable images amid the swirling flakes. But the night of their arrival, Truman is lured through an underground passage into the marvelous and frightening Breath World of Swelda's stories. This world and ours have been endangered by the theft of the Ever Breath, an amber ball that keeps them in balance. Truman soon learns that his missing father is wrapped up in the mystery of the Ever Breath's disappearance and commits himself to finding them both. Baggott's (The Prince of Fenway Park ) inventiveness and whimsy never flags; there is some light grisliness: “The man on the ground was wearing a white shirt, but it was turning red.” Once Truman forgets about his inhaler and embraces his new purpose, it's a dizzying, nonstop romp through the imagination. Ages 9–12. (Dec.)