cover image The Witch in the Woods (Grimmworld #1)

The Witch in the Woods (Grimmworld #1)

Michaelbrent Collings. Shadow Mountain, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-63993-232-0

When 11-year-old twins Willow and Jake move from Los Angeles to New Marburg, Idaho, they quickly learn that everything is not as it seems, especially once their parents begin new jobs at the New Marburg Think Tank, or the Tank, “a place full of Very Smart People who would perhaps change the world (according to Mom), if they didn’t blow it up first (according to Dad).” New Marburg proper seems just as mysterious as the Tank; it’s a town filled with robot cops and flying cars that also endures odd electrical storms at night. Upon beginning school at New Marburg Kinderversity, the twins contend with strict, scary teacher Mrs. Houseman, who resents them for reasons they don’t understand. After their father experiences a breakthrough at the Tank during a terrible tempest, Willow and Jake awaken in Grimmworld, a parallel universe where fairytales are real. If the twins hope to return to their dimension, they must team up with a magic being named Old Eli and delve into Grimmworld’s mysterious origins which, they learn, is connected to their own family’s past. Utilizing suspenseful, sometimes frightening, elements, familiar fantasy tropes, fun and whimsical worldbuilding, and characters from the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, Collings (Light-Years from Home) crafts a fresh fantasy series opener with a multiverse spin. Ages 9–12. (Mar.)