Book Review: The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

Posted October 8, 2012 by Lori in Books, Reviews / 17 Comments Tags:


I received this book for free from the Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: The Spindlers by Lauren OliverThe Spindlers by Lauren Oliver
Published by Harper Collins on 2012-10-02
Genres: Family, Fantasy & Magic, Middle-Grade
Pages: 272
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher via Edelweiss
AmazonBarnes and NobleBook Depository

One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-grubbing and pancake-loving younger brother, who irritated and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not. In fact, he was quite, quite different.

When Liza's brother, Patrick, changes overnight, Liza knows exactly what has happened: The spindlers have gotten to him and stolen his soul.

She knows, too, that she is the only one who can save him.

To rescue Patrick, Liza must go Below, armed with little more than her wits and a broom. There, she uncovers a vast world populated with talking rats, music-loving moles, greedy troglods, and overexcitable nids . . . as well as terrible dangers. But she will face her greatest challenge at the spindlers' nests, where she encounters the evil queen and must pass a series of deadly tests--or else her soul, too, will remain Below forever.

From "New York Times" best-selling author Lauren Oliver comes a bewitching story about the reaches of loyalty, the meaning of love, and the enduring power of hope.

My Likes: I really loved this book. And I’m not surprised at all because it’s Lauren Oliver. Her writing is beautiful, her world-building is amazing, and her characters become my favorites. Liza is no different, nor is the world she enters when she sets off to save her brothers from the spindlers that have taken his soul Below during the night. She is always brave, smart, loyal, and never forgets about her brother, Patrick. Below is full of creatures we both know well, like rats and moles, and ones we don’t, like the spindlers and nocturni. They all live in the world Below and Liza meets them all. One of my favorites is Mirabelle, a rat that helps Liza find the spindlers’ nest where Patrick’s soul is being kept until the feast. Even though Mirabelle is a rat, Liza is sure she can trust her and they experience many adventures together. Of course along the way there are many surprises for Liza. But the unexpected twists keep the story moving along and never boring. As soon as one thing ends, another comes right on top of it. As a middle-grade book, I really appreciated the fast pace of the book.

Another one of my favorite parts of the book is Liza’s love for her brother. She never shies away from the fact that he annoys her, so it’s not sugar-coated, but she also willingly admits that she loves him. She feels protective of him and doesn’t care that she is scared, she goes after him anyway. It’s a beautiful representation of a sibling relationship and I really appreciated seeing an older sibling being so open about her love for her younger brother.

My Dislikes: There isn’t much that I didn’t like about this book, but there were a couple of minor things that annoyed me. First, I wasn’t fond of Liza’s parents. They were disinterested with their kids, unconcerned with anything Liza said, and Liza doubted their love for her. I know (believe me!) that adults can easily get caught up in the responsibilities of everyday life, but almost nothing annoys me more than when kids doubt whether their parents love them or not. I know this book is from a kid’s perspective, so maybe it’s just realistic, but I wish her parents had shown a bit more concern. And secondly, the book did take a little for me to get into. It seemed to start off slow, which seems silly now because SO MUCH happened in such a short book. But I wasn’t really hooked until about halfway through. So nothing major to complain about here, but I just needed to mention them.

Overall Feelings: I loved it! How does Lauren Oliver do it? This book was full of action, wonderful imagery, and the beautiful narration we have come to associate with Oliver’s work. Add a brave and loyal heroine out to save her little brother and the book becomes epic! Just when you think Liza has reached the end, another challenge is laid at her feet. With the reminder of saving her brother’s soul to keep her going, Liza never looks back, no matter what creature comes after her in the Below. It is a beautiful sibling relationship, even if the parents aren’t involved. The non-stop action should keep the younger kids’ attention while Oliver’s writing will help keep parents interested as well. The Spindlers is a fantastic middle-grade book that would be a great read-aloud with your kids. I can’t wait to read it with my kids when they’re a little bit older. I gave The Spindlers five stars!

17 Responses to “Book Review: The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver”

  1. I totally second Cassi on the Fablehaven books! Those are awesome! Also, Percy Jackson of course. 🙂 I just read Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, and you should definitely check that one out!

    I love Lauren Oliver’s books. I also love the sibling relationships that seem to pop up in middle grade books (Fablehaven’s a great example of this). Can’t wait to read The Spindlers! Great review!
    Randi M recently posted..Terror ‘Tober (Randi): Review of I Hunt KillersMy Profile

  2. I haven’t exactly read any Lauren Oliver books, but it sounds interesting! That’s just what I like about MG books, they are so full of imaginations, literally everything can happen! Most things can speak and think in MG books, and I like it, it’s just so fun when you read about real animals that can talk. MG books are such relaxing reads, the overwhelming imaginations and endless possibilities just make me really happy when reading a MG book. So, yeah, definitely will be checking out this book, especially since you seemed to like Lauren Oliver’s writing so much! 😉
    Allyson Rida recently posted..Review: The Nine Lives of Chloe King Trilo gy By Liz BraswellMy Profile

  3. Amanda Ray

    Middle school was a long time ago, but I am currently reading several that would be appropriate for this list. Milo Banks & the Tower of Light by Richard Denoncourt, The Saeshell Book of Time by Rusty A Biesele- actually I am reading one and my son is reading the other. I’m always on the lookout for books he will enjoy (he’s 11) so I will definitely be looking into other Lauren Oliver books

  4. Danielle Nguyen

    Does Harry Potter count? I think that series starts out MG and ends up YA. Anyway, it’s my favorite. Thanks for the chance to win!

  5. alicia marie

    My favorite is The Giver. That’s MG, right? If not, I really love the books in The Gideon Trilogy : )

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