Fans of Roald Dahl and Neil Gaiman will love this inventive and “captivating” (Kirkus Reviews) middle grade fantasy about a girl who uses a family heirloom to travel to fantastical worlds that may be more dangerous than they appear.
Twelve-year-old Rosemary has been an artist her whole life and especially loves drawing the incredible places from her Aunt Jo’s stories. But illustrating the stories doesn’t mean Rose believes them. And when Aunt Jo gives Rose a pocket watch with instructions on how to use it to access magical dream worlds, Rose just thinks Aunt Jo is being peculiar again.
While Rose is sleeping, however, she enters a fantastical place where each hour of the pocket watch takes her to a different world. There, Rose befriends a trio of outcasts with special powers and joins their war against the ominous Tall Man.
When a bully steals Rose’s watch, she can only look on in horror as dream and reality collide and he’s sucked into the Eleventh Hour. Now, Rosemary must gather magic from all twelve dream worlds to rescue the boy who makes her life a living nightmare.
In Sosna-Spear's (The Remarkable Inventions of Walter Mortinson) second middle grade fantasy, Rosemary Marks, a presumed-white artistic and socially isolated sixth grader, has grown up on her aunt Jo's stories about worlds where "magic looks like smoke." But when Jo's brain cancer returns and Jo disappears from the hospital, Rose learns that the stories are real. The worlds, accessible through a pocket watch, are divided by magically erected Walls, which are maintained by the Smoke Keepers: "the Walls need smoke to stay up. They're made of smoke. So when a person is thrown into the Wall, all of that person's smoke is sucked out." Rose's exploration of the worlds is interrupted when former friend and current bully Jeremiah is thrown into the Wall. As his life hangs in the balance, Rose must collect smoke from Kings and Queens of the worlds in order to destroy the Wall. Though secondary story lines, such as Rose's relationship with her father, feel underdeveloped, the quick pacing and imaginative worlds will appeal. Ages 8 12. Agent: John Cusick, Folio Literary.