My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked this book up as I was given a copy of The Sixteen, (Book 2 of the Soul Jumpers Series), for review. I felt, to be able to give it a fair review, I needed to read Book 1 first. I am so happy I did! The Soul Jumpers is a children's series geared toward middle grades. Iris is the character telling the story and the language of the book fits the characters age. Some adults may find it too simplistic but I thought it was perfect for the audience it was written to.
The story contains an interesting mystery. Iris lives with her mother and visits her grandfather for the summer. We are told early on that her father died in a car accident. This is where the mystery begins. Iris finds out that it is believed her dad caused the accident by driving under the influence. She sets out to find out the truth and comes across a mysterious guy. I do not want to say too much about it so you can discover the exact mystery for yourself.
I enjoyed the love that Iris has for her family. I was especially happy to learn that the grandpa is her father's father. Too often in children's books, when there has been a divorce or death, missing parent = missing grandparents. It was so gratifying to read about a grandparent staying in the child's life after the death of the child's parent.
I also was impressed with Iris saying she knows she is different. All children go through a time when they are growing up where they feel different. Not only does the author have the character express this but she goes on to tell us how Iris is different. I have a feeling as the series goes on we will learn more of why Iris is different.Iris also speaks of feeling the opposite of her name, Brave. We all have fears, some rational, some not. Having Iris work through hers, often with humor, is a powerful message. I think this book is filled with many positive messages. I did wonder a couple of times at the amount of freedom Iris has. However, when you think about times now, with so many parents working, a lot of middle grade children have a lot of freedom.
Soul jumping is something new for me. I read a lot of books in the paranormal/fantasy genre. It was refreshing to me to come across something still pretty unique in this genre. The mystery is not solved in this book. So be aware that you will need to buy the next book in the series to see where it goes. If your middle grader is looking for a fantasy mystery series this may be one you want to pick up. Personally I think it would be a fun series to read together.There are plenty of things that happen to Iris and decisions she makes that would be excellent conversation starters for parents and their children.
I took off one star just because I felt in a couple of places things did not transition smoothly or they felt rushed. While this interrupted the flow of my reading it did not impact my enjoyment of the book. My actual rating would be 4 and a half stars.
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IRIS BRAVE, the first in the Soul Jumpers series by Ali B., will be $.99 on Amazon today, September 25th and tomorrow September 26, 2014.
You can keep up with Ali B. on her website at http://alibbooks.com/