Not long into fifth grade, ten-year-old twins Frank and Jon Reed undergo extraordinary changes: Frank starts reading minds. Jon can see the future. But every magical gift has a cost.
The constant voices whispering in Frank's head won't stop. He can't sleep or even think. Horrifying nightmares plague Jon, making it harder and harder for him to wake up.
Their hope lies at West Hills School for the Perceptually Gifted, a boarding school in the Pacific Northwest, and the only place they can learn to control their powers.
Moving to a new school means making new friends, meeting new teachers, and being required to live thousands of miles from their family. At least they have each other . . . until a dangerous relic, the Guardian of Whispers, goes missing. All evidence of the theft points to Jon.
With the school board on the verge of expelling Jon for the crime, Frank, his friends, and a grouchy old gifts teacher must catch the real culprit and clear Jon's name.
The Guardian of Whispers is the first book in the middle grade kid's fantasy series The Reeds of West Hills. Great for fans of Rick Riordan and The House in the Cerulean Sea.
Plot/Idea: Padgett's well-paced middle grade fantasy immediately draws readers in to the adventures of twins Jon and Frank. The story quickly captivates and sets a strong tone for future installments in the series.
Prose: Padgett's prose is easy to follow and will appeal to adults as well as YA readers. The book's magical world is intricately detailed, creating a believable system that will help readers visualize both the story's characters and its scenery.
Originality: Though Padgett's characters possess special skills that will feel familiar to genre fans, the gifted society setting the background for the story is unique and creative.
Character/Execution: Padgett delivers a cast of characters with markedly different personalities who will quickly endear themselves to readers. Though the novel's biggest conflicts revolve around Jon, Frank—the quiet mastermind helping his twin behind the scenes—is just as crucial to the story's eventual resolution. Secondary characters are equally memorable and bolster the plot.
Blurb: A contemporary fantasy with well-drawn characters and intricate worldbuilding that's sure to capture the hearts of middle-grade readers and their parents alike.
Date Submitted: April 03, 2023
Padgett expertly crafts a magical environment while simultaneously ensuring that the characters’ actions and motivations are rooted in reality. Frank shines as a kind and understanding friend and brother willing to do what it takes to help those he loves. Jon stands out as a troublemaker, however, underneath this exterior, he deeply cares for his friends and family and is silently struggling with his predictions of the future and feelings of loneliness. Readers will cheer on Frank and Jon as they navigate childhood and the fallout after a rare magical relic, The Guardian of Whispers, is stolen —and one of the brothers is framed for the theft.
This story is well thought out, engaging, and magical; this adventure, the magic system, and the characters are appealing and engaging, sure to spark joy in lovers of the genre. For people who want to enjoy a fascinating, fast paced narrative, The Guardian of Whispers is an ideal fantasy, polished and accomplished.
Takeaway: This standout middle-grade fantasy exemplifies its genre and will appeal to readers of all ages.
Great for fans of: Rick Riordan, TJ Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A