Lauren Oliver's sophomore middle grade release The Spindlers is a mix of "Alice In Wonderland" meets "The Borrowers". The world below Liza's seemed sweet and awe-inspiring at first, but almost every character other than Liza's rat-sidekick Mirabella were scary. Ultimately the absurdity of the supporting characters took my attention away from the storyline as I kept asking myself why and how Liza and Mirabella kept getting themselves involved in these messes. While it progressed the storyline, by the end I was surprised things had wrapped up so quickly and it fell a little flat. Liza's brother Patrick was ultimately the best part of the story for me even though he was only in about ten percent of the book. It was charming and whimsical, but ultimately it didn't fascinate and bewitch me as much as Oliver's debut middle grade book Liesel & Po.
Liza and her little brother Patrick have always been both afraid and fascinated after their babysitter Anna tells them stories of weird magical creatures living amongst humans. One morning Liza realizes the soul inside her brother's body is not adorable yet infuriating Patrick, and takes it upon herself to travel to the below world to retrieve him from the evil spindler queen. On her way she meets a clothed rat name Mirabella who leads Liza through this scary world to rescue her brother. Her greatest challenge is making it back with not only her brother's soul, but her own as well.
One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-grubbing and pancake-loving younger brother, who irritated and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not. In fact, he was quite, quite different.
When Liza's brother, Patrick, changes overnight, Liza knows exactly what has happened: The spindlers have gotten to him and stolen his soul.
She knows, too, that she is the only one who can save him.
To rescue Patrick, Liza must go Below, armed with little more than her wits and a broom. There, she uncovers a vast world populated with talking rats, music-loving moles, greedy troglods, and overexcitable nids . . . as well as terrible dangers. But she will face her greatest challenge at the spindlers' nests, where she encounters the evil queen and must pass a series of deadly tests—or else her soul, too, will remain Below forever.
From New York Times best-selling author Lauren Oliver comes a bewitching story about the reaches of loyalty, the meaning of love, and the enduring power of hope.