Kirkus Reviews

A 12-year-old white girl, newly enrolled in a venerable London private school and mourning the death of her best friend, discovers a secret tied to the school and its founder—an ancestor of hers. Livy is feeling ungrounded—literally—after the death of her best friend from leukemia when her father accepts a job as librarian at the ancient Temple College school and, to her distress, Livy is enrolled. From the window of her tower bedroom, Livy can see a Sentinel—one of seven carved figures that grace the roof of the school. When the statue seems to move, Livy, unbelieving, crosses the rooftops with gravity-defying ease to investigate. There, she has an overpowering urge to step off into the sky, until a mysterious boy pulls her back. When she learns that Peter Burgess, her ancestor and Temple College's founder, was obsessed with trying to make blood light enough to enable a person to fly, she begins probing. Scenes describing Livy's light-as-air-ness are convincing, as is her well-developed emotional range. Secondary characters (all seem white), however, tend toward one-dimensional. The climax, twining themes of love, gravity, and time, is not wholly convincing, and there's too much final explaining, giving the end a wrapped-up feel. An original plot that hints at depths it doesn't quite reach but works fairly well overall. (Fantasy. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 4–7—Livy Burgess's best friend Mahalia has just lost her battle with leukemia. Livy is reeling with grief, but her parents decide it might be good for her to take an opportunity for free tuition at the prestigious Temple College, a preparatory school in London. Livy's dad is offered a job as the new librarian there, and it's a chance the family can't pass up. The action starts immediately when, after the move, Livy and her mom encounter the eccentric ex-librarian at Temple, who appears to be homeless and quickly losing his marbles. Also, the stern and intimidating headmistress seems to have an agenda; she's very interested in a possible connection the Burgess family may have to the founder of Temple College, scientist Peter Burgess. Livy senses something's not quite right at her new school, and when she meets an intriguing boy on the roof, even more questions are raised. She's determined to figure out what's going on, even if she has to risk her own life to do it. Livy's love for her departed friend, and her struggle to make new ones and find her place in the world, will resonate with readers. Minor characters are underdeveloped, with the exception of Livy's lively four-year-old brother Tom, and there are a few aimless plot points. The twist at the end is a shocker, though, and the resolution satisfies. VERDICT Perfect for libraries in need of shivery but not-too-creepy middle grade mysteries.—Mandy Laferriere, Fowler Middle School, Frisco, TX

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.