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Book Review: Pages & Co 1 & 2 by Anna James

Book Review Pages & Co Tilly and the Bookwanderers Tilly and the Lost Fairy Tales

Hello lovely book lovers!

Will you please take a moment to appreciate these beautiful covers? Aren’t they so magical and beautiful and absolutely enchanting? The best thing about them is that every time you look at them, you find something else to admire, and after you’ve finished reading, something else that you recognise from the story, and I absolute love that.

The first book in the Pages & Co series by Anna James, Tilly and the Bookwanderers, was part of our Middle Grade Marvels book club. We have a lovely group of middle grade lovers and every month we read at least one book together. We’ve been doing this for a few months now and it’s so harmonious and lovely, I’m so happy Ellie, Holly and I created this book club. If you want to join us, head on over to our Twitter account and just join in on the fun!

But back to the books! The second book in the series, Tilly and the Lost Fairy Tales, Ellie and I read for the Hypeathon readathon in June I think. The motto was #JourneyJune, and Tilly has so many adventures in the story, it was a perfect fit for it! (Are you interested in taking part in our monthly, year-round readathon, in which we plan to read all the hyped books we have missed so far? Have a look at our Twitter account!)

Since I read these books quickly after each other, I thought I’d pack both reviews into one post. So here we go!

Tilly and the Bookwanderers

Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparents’ bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favourite stories.

One day Tilly realises that classic children’s characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering’ – crossing over from the page into real life.

With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face.

(taken from Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

I absolutely adored this book. Tilly is such a sweet character, and she lives with her grandparents in their bookshop Pages & Co. Isn’t that the dream of all of us? Tilly is in love with books, and one day she starts seing a character of her favourite classic appear in the bookshop. I don’t want to spoiler too much but I was so excited when I learned who that was, because it’s the heroine of my favourite classic too! I loved having that in common with Tilly.

"Be brave, be curios, be kind"

It’s so sweet to see Tilly’s relationship with her grandparents. Her mother has been gone since she was little, and Tilly’s grandparents make a big hush hush of the whole topic. I can tell you, the revelation around that secret is HUGE and I didn’t see it coming! Nan and grandad of Tilly are booklovers through and through, and … well… there’s ANOTHER big secret around that. I can tell you, you are in for a wild ride! Every child will wish to live in Pages & Co, that’s for sure! (Okay, fine, not only every child. Me too. I want to move in right now!)

A lot of it is being revealed in the blurb already, and I could mention more that happens, but I want you to experience it properly while reading the book yourself. The book wandering that is mentioned is such an inventive, special and enchanting thing and I absolutely adored the idea and the execution in the book, so much so that I dreamed of it one night! How wonderful must it be to disappear into your favourite stories?

"And what exactly makes someone best-friend material?" [...] 
"Someone who sticks by you; someone who never gets bored of 
talking to you. Someone who's adventurous, and clever,
and brave, and funny..."

Another wonderful character in the story is Oskar, a boy from across the street that Tilly becomes good friends with. He’s very shy at first and has problems reading, so Tilly takes him under her wings and introduces him to the world of books (and I mean that  quite literally!). I loved that Oskar mentions that he prefers to read audiobooks because of that, and that they are represented as proper reading material in the book (what they are. Just, you know, some people seem to think otherwise, so seing this representation in a book was nice.) Tilly and Oskar go on many fun adventures together – in the real world and between the pages of a book, and I loved seing their friendship grow and prosper.

But every good adventure is not perfect until a bad guy makes an appearance. And Pages & Co has a villain like no other to offer! Tilly and Oskar have to become very careful and also imaginative to solve riddles, outsmart the baddie – and to find their way back home!

"Legere est peregrinari"

A review of this gorgeous book wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the beautiful illustrations inside. They make the book even more special, and I loved every single one of them! We get little illustrations like tea cups or flowers, but also character drawings and completely blacked out pages that add to the suspense. And, what I loved most of all, the writing is used as part of the book art as well sometimes – words are being proplonged on the page or figuraticely fall down to the bottom. Holding this book in your hands is just so much fun, and you will be in awe while you read it, and a good while afterwards!

This inventive, magical adventure was a delight from the first page until the very end. You should definitely give this book a try. It’s absolutely beautiful.

5 magical stars from me!

Now onto the next book in the series – but remember, the next section might contain spoilers if you haven’t read book 1 yet!

Tilly and the Lost Fairy Tales

Tilly Pages is a bookwanderer; she can travel inside books, and even talk to the characters she meets there. But Tilly’s powers are put to the test when fairytales start leaking book magic and causing havoc . . .

On a wintery visit to Paris, Tilly and her best friend Oskar bravely bookwander into the land of fairytales to find that characters are getting lost, stories are all mixed-up, and mysterious plot holes are opening without warning. Can Tilly work out who, or what, is behind the chaos so everyone gets their happily-ever-after?

(taken from Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Book 2 in the Pages & Co series moves on where the first book left off. A gorgeous cover, beautiful illustrations, an amazing set of characters and big adventures surrounding secrets that need to be unraveled. I loved seing the great duo Tilly and Oskar back in action, and I loved how they have overcome their shyness and become proper best friends. Oskar has become part of Tilly’s family, and that’s a lovely thing to witness.

This book focuses on fairy tales and brings us deeper into bookwandering – the thing that Tilly and Oskar do together, thanks to Tilly’s family legacy. How cool would it be to wander inside your favourite novels?! I don’t think I would do much else in my free time (beside reading). But then, all of a sudden, fairy tales are starting to leak book magic, and Tilly and Oskar decide it’s time to do something about it. Even though Tilly’s grandma warned them about fairy tales – as they are not safe to travel into! But then, Tilly and Oskar get to go on a (real life) journey, which brings them the best opportunity to jump back into books. But was Tilly’s grandmother’s warning more serious than they thought?

Aaaah!!! This book was so much fun to read, and I couldn’t wait to dive into the story after I had finished the first book. I had a serious book-hangover after Pages & Co 1, and I wasn’t happy with any book I started until I held this one in my hands. That says a lot about a book, I think.

BIG SPOILER AHEAD

At first, I was a bit sad that Tilly’s mum was a bit reserved around her – or that was the feeling I got, but after a while she really seemed to warm up to real life and to being a mum, and that was wonderful to see. I mean, she had been through a lot, let’s be honest! She had been stuck in a book for the past years thanks to the villain, and now Tilly and Bea (her mum) have to find a way back to being mum and daughter.

In this second book, we also find out more about Oskar’s family, as he gets to take Tilly on a journey to France with him, where his father’s side of the family lives. His grandmother seems to be ill, and so, Tilly and Oskar are being put in the train in London and make their journey down to Paris. It was great fun to travel with them, especially because the first happening surrounding the book magic leakage takes place on their journey. (I hope this isn’t too much of a spoiler, because something in the story will make you anticipate it at that point.) And, ooh I have to mention the illustrations again in this special scene – they are sooo good! They really enhance the magic of the story.

A book full of friendship, family, love magic and wonder that everyone who starts the series should already have at home, or else you’ll feel that book hangover too!

Another magical 5 stars from me!!

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