Synopses & Reviews
Life in a small town can be pretty boring when everyone avoids you like the plague. But after their father unwittingly sends them to stay with an aunt whos away on holiday, the Hardscrabble children take off on an adventure that begins in the seedy streets of London and ends in a peculiar sea village where, according to legend, a monstrous half-beast boy roams the woods. . . . In this wickedly dark, unusual, and compelling novel, Ellen Potter masterfully tells the tale of one deliciously strange family and a secret that changes everything.
“The story is fresh, funny and surprising. The sibling dynamics—alternately testy and touching—are believable, as are the wonderfully odd characters from the hulking taxidermist Saint George to the ethereal Sultan of Juwi. A quirky charmer.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review “Metafictional flourishes keep us amused and on our toes as Potter tackles some (at books end) serious topics from a position both gothic-cheeky and compassionate.”—Horn Book Magazine “Potters voice is distinguished by sharp, humorous, and poignant observations. . . . Often laugh-out-loud funny, this tale quietly solves a deeper mystery: how to heal the hearts of this immensely likable trio.”—Publishers Weekly “Dark, delicious, biting, sarcastic, arch, and smart. The story itself is smart—almost deceptively so—and with the many layers, I can easily see this appealing to middle school kids. . . . I shivered with the wonderful deliciousness of it all.”—Elizabeth Burns, SLJ.com
When the Hardscrabble children wind up in London alone, they find they have a mystery or two on their hands. Will they discover what has become of their mum? And who is the Kneebone Boy living in a nearby castle?
About the Author
Ellen Potter is the author of books including Slob, Pish Posh, and Olivia Kidney. With Anne Mazer she is also the author of Spilling Ink: A Young Writers Handbook. Potter grew up in a high-rise apartment building in New York Citys Upper West Side, where she exercised her early creativity by making up stories about the neighbors she saw on the elevator. When she was 11 years old, she realized all the best books were written for people her age, and so she decided to become a childrens book author. She studied creative writing at Binghamton University, and then worked many different jobs while continuing to write. She was a dog groomer, construction worker, art teacher, and waitress. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, son and a motley assortment of badly behaved animals.