Maya is recovering from an unimaginable loss - her very best friend has died, and her family has just moved from Idaho to Oregon, hoping that a change of scene will help Maya to move on and focus on new things, instead of on all the things that remind her of her friend. Maya is doing her best to move forward with her life, but it is of course not easy. When a fairy flies through her open window one evening, followed by an unusual encounter with a strange boy at school in which something scary, wonderful and inexplicably strange happens, Maya's life becomes much more interesting and bearable. As she comes to know the kids who live at the mysterious Janus House apartments across the street, entire worlds open up for her - literally.
This story for younger readers may lack some of the intense complexity and bizarre quirkiness of her Hoffman's books for teens and adults, but it is immensely enjoyable nonetheless. Maya is a tough, likable character, and the magical concepts that underlie the book are fresh and intriguing. As always with Hoffman's books, there is more than meets the eye to the characters and their situations, and she never relies on cliches or stereotypes in her storytelling. I recommend this one to tweens and younger teens (Maya attends middle school) who enjoy thoughtful and exciting magical tales.
Books in the Magic Next Door series:
Thresholds (#1 in the Magic Next Door series) by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Viking, 2010)
Other reviews of books by this author:
A Stir of Bones
Hoffman, Nina Kiriki - Fall of Light
Past the Size of Dreaming
Red Heart of Memories
Spirits That Walk in Shadow
The Thread That Binds the Bones