The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L. D. Lapinski
Something I adore about books and reading is the opportunity it gives you to travel to new places without ever leaving the comfort of your preferred reading spot of choice (which for me, is my old squishy green armchair, a cup of tea by the side and maybe a biscuit too. But that's by the by). When it's impossible to discover a new destination in real life, I find that a close second best is to visit vicariously through the pages of a good book. And if, like me, you love to read books which travel to multiple new lands, then allow me to introduce you to The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L. D. Lapinski. This one has travel by the suitcase-load.
Twelve year old Flick Hudson and her family have just moved to Little Wyverns - a move Flick is not best pleased about. With an endless (and friendless) summer holiday stretching out in front of her, and her parents busy with work and her baby brother, she doesn't exactly want to spend it in a sleepy village. That is, until, she stumbles across The Strangeworlds Travel Agency, and discovers that life in Little Wyverns might not be so sleepy after all.
Because, inside The Strangeworlds Travel Agency, Flick meets eighteen year old Jonathan. And not only that; being somewhat of a curious character, Flick also learns some completely groundbreaking things:
Magic is real,
Whole new worlds can be found inside suitcases, and
Jonathan is in charge
Flick jumps at the chance to visit the new worlds within the suitcases with Jonathan (and possibly even *ahem* without him too), and soon discovers several threads of mystery. The world as she knows it is in trouble - as are, um, the worlds that she doesn't know. With Great Suitcase Travel comes Great Responsibility, so can Flick help Jonathan find his missing Dad and uncover the cause of the disappearing places, before it's all too late?
I loved Flick and Jonathan; Flick's curiosity and big heart clicked perfectly with Jonathan and his grandad-like love of elbow patches and cups of tea. Reading this book felt like reconnecting with old friends (and gave me such a nostalgic feel for the Tenth Doctor), and I raced through it, desperate to know more. A very strong start to a series with all the makings of a classic, I can't wait to reread this delight many times in the years to come - as well as reading the sequel (soon, please?).
With cover illustrations by Natalie Smillie, this is a treat to behold as well as to read. Perfect for fans of Nevermoor, The Polar Bear Explorers Club, and Doctor Who, this is one adventure you do not want to miss.
So, what are you waiting for? All you have to do is step inside...