Pettikin is a novel that feels at once familiar and magical, much like the world in which its fourteen year-old heroine Allie Thomas inhabits. From the very first page, the twin realms of youthful reality (the formalities of grief while mourning the death of a beloved family member, the stultifying feeling of precocious maturity reached at a young age) and magical possibility (alpacas! quirky family friends with mysterious pasts! a cryptic message from the dearly departed!) allow the reader entrance into a universe they can relate to, while inspiring them to gleefully flip the pages as a twin universe beyond their imagination unspools.
Characters are at the heart of this delightful story – sharp-edged, soft-hearted Andie, lovable gnome Pettikin, the spunky, compassionate heroine Allie, and numerous others. These deeply drawn characters and the strength of their relationships give the novel its depth and construct within the reader’s imagination a rich appreciation for each scene.
This is a story about the power of selflessness and compassion, but even more than that it is a story about how that power is unleashed by the support and love of others. It is a nuanced novel, full of unknowable magic and unseen worlds and the shadowy hints of approaching adulthood, yet manages to leave the reader grinning from ear to ear, buoyed by the sense of optimism and courage that runs throughout every chapter. Like many of the greatest young adult books it succeeds on many levels for many audiences: a thrilling romp for children, a romantic and layered style for adolescents, and a sharp sense of self-conscious humor for adults.
And so: for kids, for young adults, and for adults alike, Pettikin is an amazing journey.
I am so excited for this book to come out. My daughter was a beta reader on an earlier draft a couple of years ago and loved it, compelling me to pick up the book. While geared to Middle Grade readers (ages 9-12), both my kids (aged 8 and almost-11 now) and I love it and have read it several times. This book is really inspiring, and a bright light shining in the darkness. If you have a heart, you will love this book.
What a pleasure to pick up a book so original it’s almost impossible to put down. “Pettikin” won me over on the first page. How many stories open with a funeral attended by alpacas, followed closely by a screaming gnome panicking in the kitchen? That’s just for starters! I was captivated until the end.
Abby Smith is a terrific storyteller. Her characters are diverse and fully-formed, with clear descriptions and smart dialogue. Reading “Pettikin” is a total escape to a fantasy world. Several actually! You couldn’t find better travel companions than fourteen year old Allie, along with Andie, Bob, Mrs. Widgit, and of course Pettikin. It’s quite an adventure, with a few alpacas thrown in. I cannot wait to see what the next book brings!
I really enjoyed it. It was a fun, light-hearted, easy read. The two teenage girls, Allie and Andie, had great dialogue for being teenage ‘bffs.’ They were different enough so that I wasn’t bored by their traits but I could easily see how they’d be friends. Also, Pettikin is simply delightful! The story and view on the universe reminded me somewhat of Doctor Who with the Guardians being Time Lords, which helped me visualize everything really well. Although the descriptions are great so I had an easy time picturing the worlds and their corresponding creatures. When I finished it, I did immediately make myself a batch of snickerdoodles!
I loved Allie–her confusion, her fear, her good heart, her willingness to give her best. I also loved the great messages of the story–about will, love, self, and the nature of fear and courage, failure…
I LOVED the humor – seriously found myself snickering out loud.
A nice story – well written, with characters that are fun to read about.
Lots of people have already loved reading Pettikin
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