By Anne Nesbet
HarperCollins, $16.99, 272 pages
Maya and her family have just moved to Paris, where her father has been given a year-long fellowship. She’s not at all happy about leaving behind her home and friends in California, but her mother, who is recovering from cancer, wanted to do it, so she wouldn’t want to refuse that request. Even so, she’s not eagerly embracing all of the opportunities of the city housing the Eiffel Tower or, as her five-year-old brother James calls it, the Evil Tower.
Still, Maya ends up running into a mystery involving two men named Henri de Fourcroy, both of whom may be distant relations to her; a strange society in which all the members are young and radiant, and a beautiful, elaborate cabinet she can’t help but be drawn toward. All of it would simply be an odd diversion until James is threatened. Now, Maya must make some difficult decisions.
The Cabinet of Earths is a fine fantasy tale for young readers. The story is gripping and the family relationships are sweet, playing an important role in the plot itself. Middle readers should thoroughly enjoy it.
Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim