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Review of The Safekeeper, by Esther Archer Lakhani

This YA fantasy/sci-fi novel begins with a seemingly normal fifteen-year-old girl on her way home from school and quickly evolves into a story that transcends “normal” in a most intriguing way. I’m a sucker for a unique premise, and this book delivers. Think house-swapping with an enchanting twist.

Ms. Lakhani’s vibrant, polished writing style drew me in from the first page. She’s a stickler for precise word choice and a master at using imaginative language to tell her story. The result is a novel filled with gems such as these: “He waved my awkwardness away with a hand so translucent and frail, I was relieved it didn’t disintegrate into dust mid-gesture”; “Spilling down upon us all was a vast black night, salted with endless tiny stars.” No tired clichés here!

The story is rich in sensory detail: I could almost smell the moist greenery of the redwood forest and hear the disgruntled squawks of Clio the talking crow. The dialogue is witty and realistic, and I especially enjoyed the banter between the two teens. The characters are well-rounded, their actions and attitudes plausible. And it’s all topped off with a generous sprinkling of humor.

I would have liked to learn more about the science and history behind the exchanger program, but the good news is, more books are coming, so I’m sure all those questions will be answered. I highly recommend this book, and I look forward to Macy’s next adventure!

Blurb for The Safekeeper:

Her job is to keep their secrets safe. A secluded Retreat Center full of preternatural clientele. A talking crow who thinks she knows everything. A new boy in town asking a lot of nosy questions. Sound like a lot to handle? Not for fifteen-year-old Macy Steward, who lives at the Center and helps her parents run the highly unusual retreats. For Macy, this is simply normal routine. And it’s all going exactly as expected, that is until the guests become dangerously unpredictable, the talking crow goes suspiciously missing, and the new boy turns out to be so much more than he first appeared. “Here comes trouble.” That’s the last thing the crow says before disappearing. Even though she doesn’t scare easily, Macy has to admit the crow was right. Because soon enough, she finds herself trying to keep a lot more things safe than just secrets…

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