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Serafina and the Twisted Staff (A MG Book Review)

Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty

This middle grades book takes place at Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Serafina’s Pa works for Mr. Vanderbilt and after the last book Serafina has been welcomed on the main floors of the estate. But someone is angry that the Black Cloak was destroyed and has come seeking revenge. At the same time Serafina is trying to come to terms with her new identity as a Catamount. Can Serafina learn to believe in herself before the lives of everyone she loves is put in jeopardy?

This is a cute book full of mystery and suspense. Most of the chapters end in cliffhangers, which may be helpful if you have a reluctant reader. Serafina is likable as she grapples with being different, as well as higher level concepts like what it means to be good or evil. This novel shows that heroes can come in all shapes and sizes, and that we are all different with various strengths and weaknesses. The prose is well-written, although a bit old-timey due to the setting. The Estate is mysterious in itself, and even more interesting for a historical tie-in. The ending of this book is ambiguous, leaving it either as a mysterious ending or open for another book! I gave this book 4-4.5/5 stars. It is published by Disney Hyperion. The prequel is Serafina and the Black Cloak.

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