Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
The official synopsis:
Featuring a mysterious society, a secretive past, and a pig in a teeny hat, “The Explorers: The Door in the Alley” is the first book in a new series for fans of “The Name of This Book Is a Secret” and “The Mysterious Benedict Society. “Knock once if you can find it but only members are allowed inside.
This is one of those stories that start with a pig in a teeny hat. It s not the one you re thinking about. (This story is way better than that one.)
This pig-in-a-teeny-hat story starts when a very uninquisitive boy stumbles upon a very mysterious society. After that, there is danger and adventure; there are missing persons, hired thugs, a hidden box, a lost map, and famous explorers; and there is a girl looking for help that only uninquisitive boys can offer.
In the tradition of long enduring middle grade series such as The Mysterious Benedict Society and other titles that feature intrepid child detectives and adventurers, The Explorers: Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress begins a story about two kids, two circumstances, sinister adults, and a mysteries.
Sebastian, the uninquisitive boy mentioned in the synopsis, stumbles on a door in the alley when following a runaway pig. He steps through this door and his life is never the same again. For all his apathy to excitement and the like, Sebastian seems to attract things and people that very much shift the axis of his life. Evie is an orphan and the ward of a very unfun school from which she has no escape except for once a week when she has dinner with a nondescript couple for reasons she doesn’t know. During one such dinner, interesting things happen and Evie finds herself outside this door in the alley. She meets Sebastian, discovers a missing (and presumed in danger) grandfather (which would mean the end of Evie’s alone-ness in the world), and sets forth on an adventure that involves armed and sinister adults and a kindly reptile.
I loved that the narrator is a character in their own right; the voice telling the story has as much personality and spark as any of the characters. The book itself is slow to get going; it took until chapter four before I was completely immersed in the story but once I was, I was in all the way. I chuckled, I grimaced, and I gasped. It was the best time.
I reckon The Explorers: The Door in the Alley will appeal immensely to the intended audience. The book is fast paced with lots of humour and action. Evie’s character adds heart to the story while Sebastian’s reluctant but courageous actions will attract those who often find themselves having to act out of their comfort zones. The bad thing is the book ends on a cliffhanger. The good thing is, it leaves you roaring for more.