Over the Woodward Wall | Book Review

 Book: Over the Woodward Wall (The Up-and-Under 1) by A. Deborah Harker
Release Date: October 6th 2020
Tags: Fantasy | Midle Grade | Friendship | Adventure | Fairytale Inspired | Whimsical

Synopsis 2021

If you trust her you’ll never make it home…

Avery is an exceptional child. Everything he does is precise, from the way he washes his face in the morning, to the way he completes his homework – without complaint, without fuss, without prompt.

Zib is also an exceptional child, because all children are, in their own way. But where everything Avery does and is can be measured, nothing Zib does can possibly be predicted, except for the fact that she can always be relied upon to be unpredictable.

They live on the same street.
They live in different worlds.

On an unplanned detour from home to school one morning, Avery and Zib find themselves climbing over a stone wall into the Up and Under – an impossible land filled with mystery, adventure and the strangest creatures.

And they must find themselves and each other if they are to also find their way out and back to their own lives.

Review 2021

Seanan McGuire has quickly become an author of who I want to read all the things. This middle grade novel, under the name A. Deborah Harker, is a novel that comes from one of her books, Middlegame. A thing I didn’t realize until after I read it and someone mentioned it. I haven’t read Middlegame. You don’t need to, to read this book.

Over the Woodward Wall is a whimsical and fairytale type of story. About trust, expectations, friendship and animal guides. It is an interesting story that reminded me of Alice in Wonderland and the land of Oz. But still very much its own story.

We follow two kids. Zib who is used to creativity and freedom, and Avery who has to fit more into a certain standard. They could both use a bit of the other to balance out. When a detour to school makes them bump into a wall, they climb over it. What other choice is there really? It lands them in the land the Up-and-Under. A land where everything is topsy turvy and you can’t really trust anyone, can you? They have to hold each other to make it through.

The descriptions of the animal guides and the characters was very striking and made me want to draw things right away. Unfortunately the rest of the writing in this book did not work for me. I felt very detached from the characters and the happenings. I found it hard to be really invested in the kids and what was going on. It made me struggle a little to get through the book.

Having said that, I do think this is a book that a lot of people will appreciate, especially if you have read Middlegame.

10 thoughts on “Over the Woodward Wall | Book Review

  1. Interesting to see that you got Wizard of Oz vibes from this book. I’m pretty sure that McGuire wrote this one specifically to be an Oz-like book that she had control over in Middlegame. I know that she said she wrote this one at the same time as Middlegame so that she could properly use it as a reference. I haven’t read Over the Woodward Wall yet, but I loved Middlegame and I’m honestly not sure if that will help or hurt. (I’ve seen mixed reviews from others who liked Middlegame.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read Middlegame yet, but McGuire is sometimes hit or miss for me, so it doesn’t surprise me. I tend to like her writing style, though, even if I don’t connect to the characters, so I’ll be interested in checking this one out. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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