Summary from Goodreads:
Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a
Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent
she’s never known how to explain.
Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.
Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.”
There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.
In this page-turning debut, Shannon Messenger creates a riveting story where one girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world, before the wrong person finds the answer first.
So, this has been such a strange reading year for me…I feel like my favorite books have been middle grade, not YA. I have been loving Non fiction more than ever before. And I go through spats where I just can’t focus on books, and then I return to books with such force. 2020 has been hard. My brain doesn’t seem to know what to do. I do know I am so glad that multiple people suggested I read this series. As I explained to my husband earlier this week, I am not prepared to fully discuss my feelings on JK Rowling right now without going into a complete existential crisis, and well, what is 2020 if not one giant existential crisis after another? However, this book is so similar to Harry Potter in so many fun, great ways that it brought nothing but joy to me during an extraordinarily difficult week when I needed a really good book to escape into.
This book was magical. It’s one of those stories where the real world is side by side with a magical one…and ahhh. This is the best. Instead of the focus being wizards here, the focus is on elves. There’s a very Hogwarts-like school the elves attend and learn about their specific skills. However, they don’t live there. They live with their families. Sophie has a lot in common with Harry. There’s a bit of a chosen one feel to her. A lot of focus is placed on her eyes. And she grew up with humans. Oh, and she fails at Alchemy, which turns out to be a lot like Potions…There’s also a great deal of mystery placed around why Sophie was brought up by humans, who her parents are, and why she is the way she is. In Harry Potter, I feel like a lot of those questions were pushed aside for later books, or answered early on, but not how we wanted them to be.
One of the things this book had that Harry Potter book 1 didn’t, was a lot of action, right from the beginning. There’s magical, destructive fires, secret rebellion organizations, hidden ruins, kidnappings, memory charms that erase a whole family’s memory (something that doesn’t happy until book 7 of HP), dealing with elf tribunals (that reminded me of moments of book 5 of HP), and lots of big reveals for things to come. Basically, a lot happens in book 1. It wasn’t just a welcome to the magical world. And this was awesome.
As far as chosen ones go, I feel like I don’t 100% love Sophie. Maybe I will later? I love the side characters. She has some great friends, teachers, caregivers, and creatures on her side. She’s very caring and good. I’m not sure I would have admitted to something she did, or made all the right decisions she did in this book. Her powers are so cool though. I can’t wait to see how those develop. Oh, and I’m so excited to see where her best friend’s powers go.
This was no small book at 488 pages, and I’ve been told they only get bigger. But, it never felt like it dragged. In fact, I read it remarkably quickly. And these are the best books. I ordered the rest of the books in the series before I was ¾ of the way through this first book.
There were a few strange, quirky loopholes type things in here. For instance, none of this is actually described as magic. Sophie had to keep un-learning everything she knew about science to make room in her brain for “real” elf science…What? Also, she had a photographic memory. This helped her in practically everything. I don’t understand how this didn’t help her in alchemy too. I get that it might not be the best in physical education. But, shouldn’t all things mental go great? Also, why did they have to lick their lockers to open them? Double also, why was the school nurse picking locker flavors? And why did no one find it weird that the only person Sophie was projecting to was Fitz? Why not her mentor? I was so mad at Fitz for the whole last part of the book, and Sophie just instantly forgave him.
Any way, these are small things I just had to get out. Mostly, I loved this. I cannot wait to keep reading. It looks like I have 7 more to go. I give this first one an 8/10.