'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 1 June 2015

Review: Anyone But Ivy Pocket

Ivy Pocket is a 12-year-old maid any lady of noble birth would be delighted to have. She regularly insults her mistresses, she has a vastly overinflated sense of her own importance, and she tells a constant stream of lies. Mmm, actually Ivy is the last maid any lady of noble birth would want!

Which is why, as our story opens, Ivy's current mistress, the Countess Carbunkle, has dumped Ivy in Paris and fled to South America — anything to get away from Ivy! But Ivy is a young girl who can't help tripping over adventure. She's soon summoned to the bedside of the dying Duchess of Trinity and entrusted with carrying the Duchess's most precious possession — the Clock Diamond — to England, to give to the revolting Matilda Butterfield at her twelfth birthday party.

In return for £500 (enough to buy a carriage and possibly even a monkey, after all), Ivy is more than up for the challenge and she's soon on board the Britannia, heading for London. She strikes up a friendship with Miss Always, a writer who is on her way to discuss her next book with her publisher. Coincidentally, Miss Always seems to know quite a bit about the Clock Diamond and is very interested in Ivy's plans, as Ivy chatters blithely on about the mission that she's supposed to never mention to anyone. And the coincidences keep on coming, as an increasingly weird and wonderful cast of characters do their best to prevent Ivy from delivering the diamond and claiming her reward.

What with the ghosts; the mysterious little creatures called Locks; Miss Frost, the austere governess; the cantankerous Lady Elizabeth; and the misunderstood cousin Rebecca, it would seem nasty Matilda Butterfield is the least of Ivy's problems. And who is Ivy really? Could the truth be even stranger than all those stories she makes up?

Ivy Pocket is a delightful heroine. She's opinionated, infuriating and completely misguided, but she has a heart of gold and the instincts of a true survivor. Author Caleb Krisp's writing style is gloriously gothic and will be a hit with fans of Lemony Snicket.

This is the first Ivy Pocket book and it's going to be fun to see where her misadventures take her …

Title: Anyone But Ivy Pocket
Author: Caleb Krisp
Illustrator: John Kelly
Publisher: Bloomsbury, $19.99 RRP
Publication Date: May 2015
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781408858639
For ages: 9+
Type: Middle Fiction