Lily’s worst fears manifest when sinister creatures posing as her parents infest her home on the night her new baby sibling is expected. Accompanied by pen-and-ink illustrations, the book is filled with talking animal friends, exciting twists, and plenty of creepy moments, while also focusing on Lily coming to terms with a chronic illness and a fear of being replaced. I especially loved the drawings with their balance of spookiness and silliness.
A young girl sets out to defeat the evil spirits inhabiting her home in this “thrilling…Coraline-like” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) illustrated middle grade adventure perfect for fans of The Beast and the Bethany and Margaret Peterson Haddix’s The Strangers.
Lily is used to hospitals—she’s spent more time in them than out of them thanks to her recent health issues. But when her mother goes into labor, her parents drop her off at her grandmother’s house and rush to the hospital without her. Lily doesn’t want the new baby to replace her, and she certainly doesn’t want to be sick anymore.
Most frustrating of all, she forgot to pack Willo, her favorite toy. Under her grandma’s not-so-watchful supervision, Lily sneaks back home to get Willo. Expecting to find an empty house, she is surprised to find her parents there. But something isn’t right... They look just like her mom and dad until she gets closer and sees their coal black eyes. And they refuse to let her in—it’s their house now.
With the help of some surprising new friends that she meets in her garden, Lily is determined to beat these shadowy replacements and be reunited with her real parents. But is she strong enough to triumph?
About the Author
Nick Lake is a children’s book editor at Harper UK. He received his degree in English from Oxford University. His Blood Ninja trilogy was inspired by his interest in the Far East, and by the fact that he is secretly a vampire ninja himself. Nick lives with his wife and daughter in England. Visit him on Twitter @NickLakeAuthor.
Emily Gravett is the author and illustrator of many children’s books, including Matilda’s Cat, Again!, Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears (winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal), Meerkat Mail, Tidy, and Old Hat. Her first book, Wolves, was the winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Award for Illustration. Her second book, Orange Pear Apple Bear, was a Quills Award finalist, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, and on the shortlist for the Kate Greenaway Medal. Emily lives in Brighton, England, with her partner, their daughter, and the family dog. Visit her at EmilyGravett.com.
"Viscerally rendered emotions and resonant chronic-illness representation build to a thrilling collaboration that deals in horror tropes...[e]mploying concrete metaphors, Lake (Satellite) confronts taboo but important emotions, including jealousy and passive suicidal ideation, softening them with the animals’ optimistic banter. Grayscale illustrations by Gravett (The Imaginary) unsettle through off-kilter architecture and whimsical figures as, alongside Lily, illustrations and text evolve toward hope." — Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Gravett’s eerie illustrations capture the mood of the text and use visual cues, such as black backgrounds with white text when Lily is in the dark, to build tension. Full of twists, the story divulges key interpersonal details and magical elements with smart pacing, frequently allowing readers to reconsider everything from new perspectives." — Horn Book Magazine
"An appealing tale of fortitude with just the right amounts of spookiness, playfulness, and heart." — Booklist, starred review
"This story beautifully blends horror elements with animal fantasy and realistic issues. The replacement parents are creepy and reminiscent of those in Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, but there is plenty to differentiate the tales. The animals add humor and levity to the adventure, while Lily is believably frustrated with her sickness and scared that The Baby is taking over her place in the family. Gravett’s illustrations add to the magic and whimsy; they are particularly striking when showcasing the animals’ expressive features...[a]n appealing tale of fortitude with just the right amounts of spookiness, playfulness, and heart."