April 5, 2011

Author Guest Review (4) - Stephanie Burgis (The Midnight Tunnel)

This post features YA Authors as guests sharing their thoughts on books they have loved. It was inspired by YA Reads.

Kat, IncorrigibleThe wonderfully magical author Stephanie Burgis has stopped by today for a guest review! Stephanie Burgis is an American writer who lives in Wales with her husband, Patrick Samphire, their son, "Mr Darcy", and their crazy-sweet border collie, Maya. Her first book, Kat, Incorrigible is coming out from Atheneum Books on April 5, 2011. You can find out more about her and read the first three chapters of Kat, Incorrigible on her website! Kat, Incorrigible releases today in the US!


Stephanie's thoughts:

When Sabrina first asked me to review a historical novel I love, the first book I thought of was Angie Frazier’s Everlasting, a YA historical fantasy that I’d just read and adored. Swashbuckling adventure with giant spiders, storms at sea, a forbidden (and very hot) romance and explosive family secrets - oh, it just swept me away. As a fan of Indiana Jones and the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, it was exactly the perfect book for me.

The Midnight Tunnel: A Suzanna Snow Mystery (Suzanna Snow Mysteries)When I was nine or ten years old, though, it would have been a different book that most enthralled me: Angie’s Frazier’s The Midnight Tunnel, her first Suzanna Snow mystery. Yes, it was written by the same author, but wow, is it different in tone and genre. But after I finished reading it, I was left with even more admiration for Angie Frazier as an author who can cover very different ranges so beautifully.

Suzanna (Zanna) Snow is the eleven-year-old daughter of a pair of hotel owners in sleepy 1904 New Brunswick. Her mother is a perfect lady (albeit of a lower class than we often read about in historical novels), and her parents hope for her to follow in their footsteps. Zanna has other aspirations, though: her uncle Bruce is a famous detective in the big city of Boston, and Zanna is determined to follow in his footsteps. When one of the guests disappears from the hotel, her uncle Bruce is called in to investigate…but it’s Zanna, of course, who cracks the case.

I loved Zanna as a heroine so, so much. She’s smart, thoughtful, and driven in her need to prove herself as a detective worthy of her uncle’s respect. But she’s also a perfectly believable eleven-year-old, as she gets distracted dreaming through her theories about the case and ends up forgetting the chores she’s promised to do and burning the meals she’s cooking for the guests. She might have the potential to be a great detective in the future, but she’s seen by the hotel staff as a bit of a disaster, unable to focus properly on what’s “really” important in life.

And the surrounding cast of characters is fabulous, from her famous uncle - who turns out to be more than a bit of a jerk - to her parents, who love her even though they don’t support her dreams…to her friends, female and male…including a couple of very appealing guys who might well develop into love interests later in life.

The Midnight Tunnel is a very different book from Everlasting. There are no explosions, no giant spiders, no hot romantic storylines or fantasy adventures. This is a quieter book, but it’s just as gripping in its own way. If I’d read it as a nine or ten-year-old, I would have spent a lot of time fantasizing about being Zanna myself, forcing the adults around me to grant me their respect through my feats of intelligence and bravery.
And as an adult, I love Zanna so much for that same intelligence and courage, which make her such a fabulous heroine for any age.

I’m really looking forward to reading Zanna’s next adventure next year, as well as the YA fantasy sequel to Everlasting. Most of all, though, after reading her first two books, I can’t wait to read whatever Angie Frazier wants to write next.


Watch the Trailer of Kat!


  1. Great review and post! Loved learning about Midnight Tunnel. I am also so excited to read Kat Incorrigible. I got a feeling it will be a perfect middle school read and one I will be considering for the next Book Battle at my school.

  2. Wow! This is interesting! It's pretty good, and I would like you to continue it.


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