This book has been on my radar for quite some time, but it was only when a very good friend gave me her copy was I able to finally read it. Potkin and Stubbs made my commute to work on London buses/underground a wonderful, spooky adventure.
This book has:
- A very cool map and illustrations by the wonderful K. J Mountford. (I love his artwork, he also did the cover of A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan) – find out more about him – here
- A strong, independent female main character that does not take no for an answer
- Detective Noir vibes in a children’s book that I didn’t know I needed
Lil Potkin is who I want to be when I grow up. She is fiercely independent, smart and truly appreciates her library. (Being an Ex-library assistant that is something I love seeing in children’s books). Although on occasion she did act a little impulsively it made for a completely believable, extremely likable character.
Nedly was adorable. Half the story was his self-discovery and I really enjoyed that aspect. It made it a true investigation and a spooky one at that. The development of Nedly’s character was probably one of my highlights of this book. I love characters that I can see grow and develop through the story and it not feel forced.
Abe was exactly what Lil didn’t want and needed at that time. He was the reason and adult in the story. Their dynamic made the story funny, relatable and defined the characters. They evened each other out, Lil wouldn’t take no for an answer and Abe very much needed a push to do anything. Together with Nedly, they made a brilliant, interesting team to follow on an adventure.
The story was a detective children’s story with a spooky, noir twist. These themes of crime, ghosts, and corruption I rarely find in children’s books. I assume authors steer away from this as I can imagine it is extremely difficult to walk along the line of adult(ish) themes in a children’s book. Sophie Green crafted this world and story so so well and I would happily hand this book to a child who is ready for a gripping story with some bite. I can’t wait to dive back into the world of Pelican City – as mentioned, being an ex-library assistant I really appreciated the library scenes – everyone should remember the importance of the presence of libraries in their communities.
The writing style was nothing short of atmospheric. The descriptions and world building set the scene of a corrupt Pelican City and Lil’s position within it perfectly. The pace of the story worked well, each chapter something was learnt, discovered or explored and I was hooked. Each character was explored, but enough was kept in the dark that I can’t wait to discover what might come next!