Title: Goblin Secrets
Author: William Alexander
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster)
While searching for his lost brother, Rownie escapes Graba the witch’s household and takes up with a troupe of goblin actors. Danger follows Rownie everywhere as Graba tries to get him back, and the Guard of the city of Zombay search for human actors. Because in Zombay, it is illegal for anyone but Goblins to act, for masks and those who wear them hold a certain power. What magic has Rownie gotten himself involved in?
Goblin Secrets was the 2012 National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature, so of course it’s a great read. It’s got adventure, mystery, and magic. Even though it’s classified in my library as a “Juvenile” book and marketed toward readers aged 8-12, this book deals with a lot of big topics. Rownie learns about family, home, and finding where you belong.
In Zombay, everything you know about the world is turned on its head. Acting is illegal, goblins exist, and masks come to life. I liked that the book was structured like a play, with acts and scenes rather than chapters, which fit wonderfully with the importance of theatre. The book never talks down to its readers, and instead, you discover as you go.
A definitely read for young readers looking for a fun, challenging read. Or older readers looking for the same!