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Fiction Recommendation Experts

2023 Book Review: Under Central Park

Under Central Park: The Amulet’s Secret by Diana Wurfbain Spinola 

MG Fantasy, Independently Published in 2022, 415 Pages 

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Firstly, I’ll say this didn’t feel like a middle grade novel. 415 pages is a lot for a middle grade novel, the title is a mouthful, and we start the book by following an adult. While those things don’t strictly matter, they made me question the age category. Later, although Matt is a young boy, the word choice and syntax felt odd for a middle grade book as well. 
  • This book covers a LOT of events. It really feels like it could’ve been two books and given us a better chance to learn more about each aspect more in depth. 
  • I know some fantasy fans don’t mind this but the names of some people and groups were unpronounceable. 

What I Did Like:

  • Matt is an intriguing character right away. I understand why we couldn’t start with him in chapter 1 but I wish we could! He’s much easier to connect with than the adult. 
  • The world building is well done. You’re introduced to new groups and concepts in this book but you learn about them quickly. By the end of the book you feel like an expert in all the new worlds, which is a sign that it is well done indeed.
  • The ending leaves an opening for book 2 while still giving you some satisfaction. 

Who Should Read This One:

  • Fantasy fans who like finding other worlds connected to ours. Especially those who don’t mind seeing those worlds through the eyes of a 12 year old.
  • I would say unless a middle grade reader has an extensive vocabulary, this one could be frustrating for them. It would be a good one to read WITH a middle grade reader or for a middle grade reader with an extensive vocabulary. 
  • Adults, however,  will like this one, it’s got great depth.

My Rating: 4 Stars

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