Maia, an orphan, can't wait to reach her distant relatives a thousand miles up the Amazon. She imagines a loving family with whom she will share great adventures. Instead, she finds two spiteful cousins who see the jungle as the enemy and refuse to go outdoors.
But the wonders of the rainforest more than make up for the hideous Carters. And when Maia meets a mysterious boy who lives alone on the wild river shores, she begins a spectatcular journey to the heart of an extraordinary new world.
"The unconventional cast of characters is highly appealing, and Ibbotson does a wonderful job of turning genre themes topsy-turvy in delightfully humorous style, at the same time adding fine details that expand and enrich the traditional orphan-adventure plot." (
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an enchanting adventure
The story of Maia's journey from Victorian boarding school to the wilds of the Amazon is exciting and full of unexpected adventure. It kept us hooked, wanting to know what happened next. Despite the protagonist being a girl, my 10 year old son loved this story, particularly enjoying the excitements with Finn & Clovis, and it transported us to another time, and another world. Utterly absorbing.
Maia's awakening to the wonders of the Amazon jungle, its people and all the possibilities away from the stultifying confines of school and the Carter family. The plot meanders as dramatically as the Amazon river itself, from the strange and obsessive Carter parents and their terrible twins to the excitement, drama and fun that Maia has with Finn and Clovis.
Miss Minton. She appears to be dour and terrifying at the outset, but turns out to be a dark horse, with an intriguing secret past. She has an ability to teach Maia everything from the delights of the magical jungle to the virtues of kindness, loyalty, friendship and love. She is an inspiration in so many ways, holding Maia's hand on her journey growing up & discovering so much about the world.
I would highly recommend this to any 9+ reader. Eva Ibbotson's books are delightful, beautifully written and would keep any young reader hooked. I would also recommend One Boy and his Dog.