Young Adult Literature


The Game of Sunken Places
by M.T. Anderson


From School Library Journal
Grade 5-9-When Gregory's weird Uncle Max invites him and a guest to stay at his mansion in Vermont, he chooses his best friend Brian to accompany him. Little does he know that what awaits them is more than Uncle Max's anachronistic ways, sweet cousin Prudence, and stuffy old knickerbockers. The mysterious mansion begs them to explore its rooms and acres of heavily-wooded backyard. They stumble upon a board game called The Game of Sunken Places and are sucked into an alternate reality where their surroundings are transformed into props and game pieces. Spaces reveal themselves one by one and their every move becomes critical to winning. With only five days left to play, can the boys come up with a strategy to overcome all of the obstacles before their time runs out? Evading a shady character named Jack Stimple becomes the least of their worries. Solving the riddle of all riddles is the real challenge-who are they playing against and what is the object of the game? Make way for Gelt the Winnower, Kalgrash the feisty troll, Snarth (an ogre with a sensitive nose), and an elf with an inferiority complex. Toss in some archaic Victorian language, runic dialogue, and alien tongues, and you have a multi-layered fantasy that's complex enough to baffle the average listener but deeply satisfying for those who are patient enough to finish it. M.T. Anderson's novel (Scholastic, 2004) transcends space, time, and reality. A mysterious mansion, ethereal beings, two kingdoms, and a secret game make fine ingredients for a gothic fantasy with a smidgen of mystery. Marc Cashman's seasoned voice sets the mood for the twists and turns that will intrigue listeners.-Ann Crewdson, King County Library System, Issaquah, WA
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