Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Tween Reads

Book Review: Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, by Adrienne Kress (Miramax, 2007)

Recommended for ages 10-13

Alex Morningside is a 10 1/2 year old girl who’s often mistaken for a boy; she wears her hair short and is something of a tomboy. Orphaned at a young age, she lives with her uncle in their home above his doorknob shop. When Mr. Underwood, a new teacher, shows up in her sixth grade classroom at the prestigious Wigpowder-Steele Academy, Alex finds herself finally liking school. Mr. Underwood has a good sense of humor and is fun to talk with.

Mr. Underwood also has a family secret – he’s the descendant of a famous pirate family. When he’s kidnapped by a rival pirate family over a long-secret buried treasure, Alex is the only one who can help him. She goes on a journey that will take her through strange places, where she meets equally strange people and one Extremely Ginormous Octopus.

 The book is a fun adventure for young ‘tweens, with enough interesting characters and plot twists to keep a reader’s interest. The only problem for me is in the occasional plodding of the storyline, which bogs down the story and may bore less patient or committed readers. The main characters – Alex and Mr. Underwood, to a degree – are fairly well-developed, and the supporting players don’t really need to be: they aren’t part of the story for long enough to necessitate it.
 
The book has won several awards in the UK and Canada, including the Heart of Hawick Children’s Book Award in 2009. It was shortlisted for the Red Cedar Award in 2009/2010.
 
The author’s website offers the usual biography, FAQ, book and appearance information. Extras include Alex and the Ironic Gentleman desktop wallpaper.

Author:

I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading (http://whatchareading.com). I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (http://www.onwednesdays.net/), where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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