Meet Darwen Arkwright, an unusual name that suits the unlikely hero of A.J. Hartley's new series for younger teens. In "Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact," Darwen finds himself transplanted from England to his aunt's home in Georgia after his parents die in an accident. With his English phrases and mixed ancestry, he's very much a kid trying hard to fit in. Things don't improve when he's sent off to a militant private school that's filled with cool kids and bullies. But Darwen's life takes an unusual turn when he stumbles across a strange shop at the mall that sells antique mirrors. When the equally strange shopkeeper gives Darwen a mirror to take home, he discovers that it's actually a portal into another world. It's a magical place, but also deeply troubled, as evil forces there are eager to invade the world that Darwen inhabits. Darwen finds that it's up to him and his newfound friends to save not only the world on the other side of the mirror, but also our own. This is an imaginative, well-written tale that hits all the high notes in this story of adventure and friendship from the author of several bestselling thrillers for adults. Though this book is catalogued in our "Y" section, readers of all ages will love it.
Recommended by David Healey