Sometimes all it takes is a little magic to find your voice...
Alice Tonks is eager to make friends at boarding school, but she's always found it hard to fit in. Then she discovers she is a Switcher and can talk to animals.
As she starts to explore her newfound abilities, to her horror she learns that creatures are going missing. Only Alice holds the key to solving the mystery, but she'll need to harness her full powers first. And to do that she'll need a bit of help from her new friends – animals and humans alike.
Emily Kenny has delivered all the ingredients in this charming and riveting story of friendship, bravery and unlikely heroes. Set in a boarding school with oodles of adventure and mystery, The Extraordinary Adventures of Alice Tonks will be perfect for fans of Robin Stevens, Elle McNicoll and Katie Cotton.
“It’s not your chips I’m after, Alice Tonks,” the seagull said sternly. “We’ve got a job for you.”
We meet Alice Tonks on her first day at Pebblewood School, struggling with her new surroundings and trying her hardest to be 'Nice Alice' at the school's welcome day on the beach.
Things don't quite go to plan when our autistic heroine is faced with a multitude of triggers – the feel of the sand, the squelch of the seaweed, the noise of the people – leading to an outburst from which Alice is sure her reputation won't recover.
Enter Tim and Ottie, kind-hearted, adventure-loving friends with troubles of their own, who seem to like Alice just as she is.
Having friends is a new and altogether surprising experience for Alice and in the midst of navigating these new friendships with ups and downs, adventures and betrayals, Alice is thrown headlong into the world of Switchers when she discovers she can talk to animals.
Can Alice harness her magic powers and become the hero she never imagined?
Warned to be on the lookout for danger by Agent T, a fussy and officious seagull, Alice soon learns that animals have been disappearing in Pebblehampton in mysterious circumstances.
With her new-found gift and friends by her side, Alice sets out to solve the puzzle.
What a magnificent debut book this is. Emily Kenny has crafted a fantastic tale of friendships, adventures, betrayal, mystery and peril, hitting the right tone at every stage of the story.
Alice is a truly relatable character and Kenny has tapped into the inner-workings of Alice's mind with real skill as we are introduced to her world and the impact autism has on her day-to-day life.
I was rooting for Alice from the very first lines – perhaps due to our shared dislike of sand and seaweed – and Kenny has given her a very satisfying character arc. The same can be said of Tim and Ottie as they both struggle with the challenges of family and friendship, coming out the other side stronger and braver than ever.
Emily Kenny has created a beautiful balance between adventure, mystery and peril, throwing her characters into threatening situations while maintaining the charming humour of the story.
"Being a Switcher is an honour. A privilege ... But it comes at a price."
The book is packed full of twists and turns that kept me guessing right up to the end. Emily Kenny masterfully unveils the different layers of the story, with subplots, revelations and parallel action which make the story rich and consistently enjoyable.
We are delighted to have The Extraordinary Adventures of Alice Tonks as our Inky Blog Book of the Month - it is well deserved. This is a book that needs to be in school libraries up and down the country and we can't wait for future instalments in this series!
Thank you to Rock the Boat and Oneworld for the review copy of this book.