- The Explorers: The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress
Library ed. ISBN 978-1-101-94006-8 $19.99
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-101-94005-1 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-101-94007-5 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 3-5
Sebastian is an orderly kid who is content with his orderly life, so he tries to pretend to not be interested when an unprecedented variation in his daily route reveals a building labeled “The Explorers Society.” When curiosity, quickened by the sighting of a pig in a hat, leads him into the society, his life opens up to the possibilities of imagination and adventure; there also he meets Evie, who’s seeking her imperiled grandfather, and who needs assistance on her quest. Also mixed in there are explorer rivalries and fights, the secret society itself, and some bad guys, and all of that is well developed, but the real strength in this novel is the character development. Sebastian is a complex kid, risk-averse and slow to catch sarcasm while being highly intelligent; he’s not always a sympathetic character as he hovers between wanting to keep helping the brash, parentless Evie find her only relation and longing to rush back into hiding mode. Occasional footnoted asides to the reader are more distracting than enhancing, but fortunately they’re too infrequent to impair the pleasures of the story. Reviewed from an unillustrated galley.