Author(s): Jacob Sager Weinstein
An exciting subterranean London adventure, the first in a middle-grade trilogy.
Hyacinth Hayward has recently arrived from America and is having difficulty adjusting to her new surroundings, especially being in the sole company of her eccentric mother. Everything feels strange. Very strange. And it gets stranger the day she accidentally unleashes the power of a secret river running through London. To prevent a second Great Fire, Hyacinth needs to retrieve a single, magically charged drop of water from somewhere in the city sewer system. Along the way she encounters an eclectic cast of characters - the shambling, monstrous Saltpetre Men who kidnap her mother, the Toshers who battle for control of magical artefacts and a giant pig with whom she has a tea party. The clock is ticking - will she figure out who to trust?
"Readers must willingly suspend belief to follow Weinstein's engaging, fast-paced fantasy, but he makes it worth their while. It's a wild ride that's fun, freaky, outlandish, and suspenseful. Readers will beg for another installment." Booklist "This setup can't help leading to a rollicking adventure with a lulu of an ending that comes with the promise of a sequel. Middle graders will adore clever Hyacinth and enjoy the other humorous characters, the puns (Oaroboarus, indeed), and the suspenseful narrative." Kirkus Reviews With plot twists and potty humor galore, this is an entertaining read-aloud that should keep even reluctant readers engaged. VERDICT Fans of Suzanne Collins's "The Underland Chronicles" and Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams's "Tunnels" series will enjoy this fantastic, funny adventure. School Library Journal
Jacob Sager Weinstein is the author of four non-fiction books for adults and has written for The New Yorker, HBO and the BBC. He is also a former contributor to The Onion and has won a Writers' Guild of America Award. The idea for City of Secret Rivers came to Jacob while walking along the Thames Embankment, as he started thinking about London's secret underground rivers and "discovered that London's history is so magical that it only takes the slightest of tweaks to make it into a fantasy story." Follow Jacob on Twitter @jacobsw. He lives in London with his wife and two children.