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

Thursday 18 January 2024

Review: Ellie Engle Saves (The World) Herself!

A story about the true nature of power and where it comes from, this Middle Grade fiction book has everything going on! It’s a little bit fantasy/mystery, a little bit rom-com and a whole lot of heart.

Ellie Engle is a normal 12-year-old girl who really doesn’t want to stand out in order to fit in. 

So, when she wakes up after an earthquake with the newly acquired super-powers of supersonic hearing and smell, along with the ability to bring dead plants back to life, it feels like a lot. And it is.

Ellie’s best friend Abby (who Ellie might be a little bit in love with), thinks that the two friends should do all in their power to get rid of Ellie’s new gift and keep it very hush-hush in the meantime. Abby prefers to ‘make a mark’ by being popular, not strange or freakish.

And so, the friends begin to drift apart. Then to make matters even more confusing, a video of Ellie using her superpowers goes viral online, thrusting her directly into the spotlight that she’s tried so hard to avoid.

This book is a delight, traversing many shadow areas but mostly ending up firmly back in the light. The characters are warmly rounded out, with their motivations and intentions quite clear from the outset (except in those instances where there’s a bit of deliberate and deftly handled mystery).

I imagine that it’s not particularly easy to navigate a story that contains everything but the kitchen sink – including an international pop star, a live tv cross, gender and racial diversity, tender relationships, the world of online, family issues and the strength to hold your ground when the odds seem insurmountable. But this book does that, and more! 

It’s a fabulous read. Engaging, compelling, relevant, authentic and laugh-out-loud funny, with characters to love and pithy scenes that will readily translate to the movie screen.

I will be keeping an eye out!

Title: Ellie Engle Saves (The World) Herself!
Author: Leah Johnson
Publisher: Scholastic, $19.99
Publication Date: 1 November 2023
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780702313462
For Ages: 9 - 12
Type: Middle Grade Fiction