Fablehaven by Brandon Mull tells the story of 13-year-old Kendra and her 11-year-old brother Seth, who are forced to spend two weeks over the summer with their grandpa and grandma Sorenson while their parents take a Scandinavian cruise. Neither Kendra or Seth is looking forward to this. They haven’t spent much time with their grandparents before and they hardly even know them. They arrive at Fablehaven, which they have never been to and discover it’s a massive estate with warning signs posted everywhere about trespassing and their grandpa sets some odd rules about where they’re allowed to go and what they’re allowed to do during their stay. The rules are strange and leave both Seth and Kendra a little curious. Seth sets out to create mischief and Kendra works to discover a secret about Fablehaven. Between the two of them they uncover what Fablehaven really is and what their grandparents actually do there. Eventually Seth gets them into some trouble and they must both work together to save Fablehaven and their grandparents before it’s too late.
The interaction between Seth and Kendra was really great. I thought Brandon Mull really got what it was like to be that age and how siblibings interact with each other. I also enjoyed the differences between the two characters. Seth is an adventurer and a risky taker, while Kendra is a rule follower who thinks everything through before acting. I recently did a book talk with this book for 6th graders and had their full attention, those that hadn’t already read it wanted to after I told them what it was about. I will say though that if there is anything about this book to be skeptical about it’s the cover. I don’t think it’s just me either, some of the students thought it looked a little weird until they heard what the book was about. What I love most about Fablehaven is that it is a great fantasy book for middle grade kids that girls and boys can enjoy. It’s a great story for anyone who enjoys fantasy and children’s books.