15-year-old Ondine de Groot isn’t impressed to find herself at Psychic Summer Camp. She knows it’s the done thing to attend, but she really doesn’t believe she has any psychic potential. Frustrated, she packs her bag and grabs Shambles, the ferret she’s befriended during her stay. Now if she can work out how to explain her sudden return home to her family, everything should get back to normal. Right?
A quirky and lighthearted romance with a touch of the supernatural, The Summer of Shambles is the first book in Ebony McKenna's Ondine series aimed at the younger end of the YA market. Filled with humorous asides in the form of footnotes, lively dialogue and a surprise love interest in the form of a transformed Shambles, the novel balances romance with a mystery that impacts Ondine’s family and could potentially ruin their business (a tavern).
The setting for the novel is unusual, with a blend of modern aspects (such as summer camp and buses) and other references that seem more reminiscent of medieval Europe. The blending of the two is occasionally jarring, hampering the flow of the story, but once I reconciled the odd blend in my mind, focusing more on the characters rather than the setting, the reading experience was much more relaxed. I did enjoy the humour, particularly the footnote asides, and the family interactions and personalities.
Ondine’s adventures are ideal for tweens and teens looking for an engaging story with fun characters, light romance and a mystery to solve. The Ondine series features four books in total:
The Summer of Shambles
The Autumn Palace
The Winter of Magic
The Spring Revolution
Author: Ebony McKenna
Publication Date: 2010
For ages: 12 - 15
Type: Young Adult Fiction