The Grimm Legacy
by Polly Shulman
I was shelving (which I avoid at all costs, partly because it isn't necessarily my responsibility, mostly because I hate it - also partly because I check out dozens of books I never read) and I ran across this gem in our new book section. It isn't a new book and I was brining it back to where it belonged when the titled sang out to me. As a lover of fairy tales I had to read the description (which sounded like an awesome version of Warehouse 13) and found out the main character was named Elizabeth.
I have this thing for main characters with my same name, I'm just fascinated by their stories.
You'd feel bad for the unfortunate, Cinderella style life Elizabeth is living in the first few pages of the book - except she has a heart of gold. Now the book isn't so bold to tell you that, but the opening scene shows Elizabeth giving her gym shoes to a homeless woman in sandals, in the middle of winter. Then, we don't really talk about the whole thing again until later. It was a sweet gesture, which really begins to show us who Elizabeth is.
Elizabeth gets a job at a brilliant, I-want-to-work-there, materials lending library. If you need a fondue pot, they are your library; if you need a medieval costume, they are your library; if you need something magical ... well, I'm assuming we are getting there, but I'm not there yet. There is something evil lurking in the library and I, as a reader, am not sure who I should be trusting. But I'm sure Elizabeth will figure it out, because we Elizabeths are pretty awesome!
Well, stomach aches are good for one thing - you get to stay up late reading a book without having to make up an excuse. I was able to FINISH The Grimm Legacy in one day. I love when that happens.
Even if Elizabeth had another name, she would still be awesome. She is real, she makes mistakes, she feels guilt, things don't always work out, and she is a little insecure. However, she is awesome - she saves the day, she has good ideas, she wants to trust people, and she is willing to have everyone be involved in the solution.
The story itself is pretty intriguing. I expected things to work out one way ... and they didn't. It wasn't a twist, but rather the book avoided cliched story lines. The ending was excellent, it was tied up in a pretty bow, but still excellent. I really enjoyed this thrilling tale of the "real" Grimm story artifacts and how they are stowed away just waiting for certain people to check them out ... only what will they leave behind.
The next book in the series is The Wells Bequest ... Leo never imagined that time travel might really be possible, or that the objects in H. G. Wells’ science fiction novels might actually exist. And when a miniature time machine appears in Leo’s bedroom, he has no idea who the tiny, beautiful girl is riding it. But in the few moments before it vanishes, returning to wherever—and whenever—it came from, he recognizes the other tiny rider: himself!
His search for the time machine, the girl, and his fate leads him to the New-York Circulating Material Repository, a magical library that lends out objects instead of books. Hidden away in the Repository basement is the Wells Bequest, a secret collection of powerful objects straight out of classic science fiction novels: robots, rockets, submarines, a shrink ray—and one very famous time machine. And when Leo’s adventure of a lifetime suddenly turns deadly, he must attempt a journey to 1895 to warn real-life scientist Nikola Tesla about a dangerous invention. A race for time is on!
In this grand time-travel adventure full of paradoxes and humor, Polly Shulman gives readers a taste of how fascinating science can be, deftly blending classic science fiction elements with the contemporary fantasy world readers fell in love with in The Grimm Legacy. Description from GoodReads.
Quick note about level: Although School Library Journal levels this book at 6th-9th grade, I would say that elementary students would also love it. "Rating" wise there is nothing here to keep them away from and, as long as the reading level was appropriate, I'm sure many would enjoy it.