Through the Skylight
By Ian Baucom, illustrated by Justin Gerard
Published 2013 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Jared, Shireen, and Miranda have just moved to Venice with their parents. On an otherwise ordinary excursion, the siblings stumble into a shop and receive unbelievable gifts from the wise old shopkeeper. The next thing they know, the three siblings are swept into an adventure - and it's up to them to make sure everything works out.
This was another e-galley I requested in my quest for more tween books. And this was yet another one that I feel rather disappointed in. I haven't seem to have had much luck lately with new tween fantasy - maybe I am getting burnt out on it? I find that hard to believe, though, since I have enjoyed some of my recent fantasy reads. Anyway, back to this book. What I think this book does well is create broad appeal - whenever you have a mixed gender set of siblings, you're basically guaranteeing that this will appeal to boys and girls (though I do not believe that boys will only read about boys or vice versa). Additionally, this book is full of action and adventure, with some historical bits thrown in. Where the book falters for me is how confusing I found it all to be - yes, there is plenty of adventure to keep one entertained, but how it all fits together and who is doing what exactly was quite often incredibly confusing. I fully admit that this may be a product of my reading of the book - I wasn't enjoying it terribly much and had a number of other books I was looking forward to, so I tried to rush through this one as fast as I could. There are a lot of characters in on this adventure as well - in addition to the three siblings, there are three animal companions, and three more children from the past. I don't feel as if any of them are particularly well-developed and it becomes too much of a pain to try to keep track of them. The book jumps from perspective to perspective during the action - I think this only adds to the confusion and complexity of keeping track of the characters. As the book built up to the climactic battle scene, I actually found my interest lessening.
Overall, this was just not a good book for me. Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.