It's the beginning of the 20th century; the age of scientific progress. But for Venice the future looks bleak. A conference of scientists assembles to address the problems, among whose delegates are the parents of twelve-year-old Teodora. Within days of her arrival, she is subsumed into the secret life of Venice: a world in which salty-tongued mermaids run subversive printing presses, ghosts good and bad patrol the streets and librarians turn fluidly into cats. A battle against forces determined to destroy the city once and for all quickly ensues. Only Teo, the undrowned child who survived a tragic accident as a baby, can go 'between the linings' to subvert evil and restore order.
In the year 1899, the evil spirit of Venice's ancient enemy, Bajamonte Tiepolo, whose bones are buried deep in the Grand Canal, rises to seek revenge on the city that destroyed him centuries earlier. The mayor offers rational explanations for swelling tides of hot water, encroaching sharks, ghostly bells, and eerie lights, while insisting that children who die from plague be buried secretly at night. A magical book takes 11-year old Teodora "between-the-Linings," making her visible only to children, ghosts, and animals. The book also introduces Teo to Renzo, a scholarly boy her age, and Lussa, mermaid queen and keeper of the "Seldom Seen Press," whose bawdy handbills warn Venetians of danger ("Have ye all been beaten with the stupid stick, like your mayor...?"). Racing against time, tide, and "baddened magic," Teo and Renzo recruit forces to battle the enemy. Energetic pacing, delightful fantasy, historical drama, lively humor, and a palpable love for Venice pervade the first YA novel from Lovric (who has written several adult novels set in that city). Addressing themes of honor, friendship, redemption, and belonging, it's an engrossing page-turner. Ages 10 up.
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This is a great book! It's a definite must read!