Book Reviews

Review: Tilly and the Book Wanderers (Pages&Co #1) by Anna James


32946432A magical adventure to delight the imagination. A curl-up-on-the-sofa debut from a uniquely talented author.

Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparents’ bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favourite stories.

One day Tilly realises that classic children’s characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering’ – crossing over from the page into real life.

With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face.

My thoughts:

  • I have been HIGHLY anticipating this book since it was released. It just seemed like my cup of tea — a book about the magic of books — and not only did it live up to my expectations, it surpassed them.
  • When I first raved about this book on twitter, I said this story was a love letter to children’s literature. I’ve kind of changed my mind about that: Pages&Co is more a love letter to readers. It celebrates those who read and love books in every form. IN FACT, I loved that there was a line in the book about how audiobooks TOTALLY count as reading. It was so lovely to see that inclusivity throughout.
  • The construction of the world of the Bookwanderers was sublime. From reading yourself in to the Underlibrary, it was exquisitely imagined. As a reader, I loved that the world building felt solid, but didn’t completely overshadow the story. It was marvellously done–a masterclass in how to introduce a magic world.
  • This book is set in Autumn in London. AKA the best time of year, in one of my favourite cities. I live relatively close to the capital, and I loved that we caught a glimpse of London and Londoners. Also, I adored the British Library being included–as a PhD student, that place is basically my second home. It was magical visiting it in the pages of a book.
  • The beating heart of this story is Pages&Co, the bookshop where Tilly lives with her adorable grandparents. The warmth and wonder of the place was present on almost every page, as well as the love Tilly and her family have for literature.
  • I think you’ve probably guessed by now that I adored our heroine, Matilda Pages (ALSO, is that not the most perfect name for a literary heroine??). It was like looking back in time at 11 year old me (minus the book wandering abilities, ofc). I really related to Tilly, especially her struggle to reconcile fictional BFF’s with those in really life. As a kid, I was apt to curl up in a story to escape real world friend drama, and I think that’s something lots of people go through.
  • Friendship is one of my favourite aspects in middle grade fiction, and the friendship that developed between Tilly and Oskar (her neighbour!) was lovely. It wasn’t perfect, and that’s what makes the development of the friendship so perfectly believable. It was a pleasure to see them both grow to trust one another.
  • FINALLY, and what was probably the element that I was most excited about this book–classic book characters. This was thrilling to see, a tribute to the characters that we all love so much. I adored seeing Alice and Anne, and the glimpses we got of other well known characters. It was done SO imaginatively, and I loved it. In fact, the whole concept of bookwandering was fun and original and I kind of want to do it ASAP.
  • So, all in all, TILLY AND THE BOOKWANDERERS was a breathtakingly brilliant story, an excellent edition to middle grade fiction and I can’t wait for the next adventure with Tilly & co. This is sure to be a classic in the making.



5 thoughts on “Review: Tilly and the Book Wanderers (Pages&Co #1) by Anna James

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