By Brian Meeks
ebook sold by Amazon Digital Services
Published July 25, 2013
Approximately 159 pages – ages 12+
Summary – Abby and Stevie are best friends. Abby is neglected by her foster family (her real parents had died in a fire) and is bullied at school. Stevie is an orphan and sneaks out of the orphanage. One day they spot a very small door at the back of a store they were in (they are friends with the owner). Abby and Stevie get teleported into a large room full of kids and some grown-ups. They get teamed up with 3 other kids for a mysterious challenge (called The Challenge) that none of the kids really know what it is for, but Abby and Stevie figured it was better than going back home. They are told they have to work together to get from a cave they are magically transported to, to a door that when they go through, completes The Challenge. Their path leads them through a strange world where they encounter dangers, puzzles they have to solve, and meet new friends (and enemies). They are guided on their journey by Alouicious who shows up now and again (but far too little). The kids must learn to get along and use their talents to make it through this weird world and succeed on The Challenge!
What I think – The plot idea of this book is intriguing. Two kids find a door and get challenged to The Challenge! Sounds cool. The world the kids go through was interesting. In this world humans were tiny and the animal there were huge. There were also some other creepy creatures like a rock-like giant and beasts from the Pit of Woe (a cool name). Besides Abby and Stevie there are 3 other kids. One of the kids is a nature lover (Jo), another is a fashionista, a pessimist and kind of mean (Cindy), and a nice, optimistic boy (George). Out of the 5 kids I think my favorite character is George, but none of them really stuck out for me. Abby started out as a strong main character but faded around the middle of the book. All of the characters were likeable (except for Cindy, but she kind of grew by the end of the book). The conversation between characters was odd. The characters are 12, but they way they talked to each other sometimes sounded too young. There were a few instances of bad language that parents of younger kids may not like (he**, da**, pi**) and a couple of editing mistakes I found. It bothered me because I was never really sure why they were going on The Challenge other than to just do it. But, I also figured what kid would not just want to go on an adventure. I like the idea that the kids have to work together and get along to complete the journey. Overall I liked the story and I hope we get to learn more about the characters and the challenges they go on in future books in this series.