A Review of Serafina and the Black Cloak

I had the privilege of reading an advanced review copy for a middle school novel! Spread the word if you know anyone else looking for advanced reviewers; I love reviewing novels. Plus, free books are always nice.
Here’s my review:
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty blends fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, and thriller.
The novel is set at the Biltmore estate in late 1800s America. When twelve year old Serafina discovers a dark secret behind the recent disappearances of local children, it’s up to her (and her unlikely friend) to figure it out.
When I say it like that, this story sounds similar to a thousand other tales I’ve read, but trust me when I say it’s not. Summarizing just isn’t my strong suit.
In addition to telling an intriguing story, the novel looks at what it means to be evil or good, teaches the values of observation and courage, and emphasizes the importance of those labeled unimportant.
I recommend the book for ages 11-14 in particular, but sensitive readers might want to wait until they’re at the end of that age group. There was no issue with language or sexuality and the violence wasn’t too graphic, though there were a couple good vs evil battles. As my 12-year-old brother put it, “It’s not scary, but it’s creepy.” That said, fans of Tim Burton especially will enjoy this novel.
Though I’m out of my recommended age group and I’m not a big fan of Tim Burton, I enjoyed this novel. Admittedly, I didn’t get into it until chapter 6, but after that chapter, I couldn’t put it down. My recommendation, then, is just a suggestion for who I think would enjoy it most.
Also, in response to the question I would have asked when I was within the recommended age group, yes, there is a bit of romance in this novel.
For those interested, the novel will be released July 15, 2015.

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