Book Review: The House with Chicken Legs (Sophie Anderson)

Publisher: Usborne Publishing

Release Date: May 3rd 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

All 12-year-old Marinka wants is a friend. A real friend. Not like her house with chicken legs. Sure, the house can play games like tag and hide-and-seek, but Marinka longs for a human companion. Someone she can talk to and share secrets with.

But that’s tough when your grandmother is a Yaga, a guardian who guides the dead into the afterlife. It’s even harder when you live in a house that wanders all over the world . . . carrying you with it. Even worse, Marinka is being trained to be a Yaga. That means no school, no parties–and no playmates that stick around for more than a day.

So when Marinka stumbles across the chance to make a real friend, she breaks all the rules . . . with devastating consequences. Her beloved grandmother mysteriously disappears, and it’s up to Marinka to find her–even if it means making a dangerous journey to the afterlife.

Review:

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book from the author, so big thanks to you, Sophie 🙂 I’ve been excited about this coming out since she told me about it and I am so delighted with the finished book.

Marinka has spent her whole life living with her grandmother, Baba Yaga, in their house with chicken legs, moving from place to place, guiding the dead and never making friends with the living. Marinka doesn’t want to learn to guide the dead, so when she has the chance to make a real, living friend she risks everything for a life she can’t have.

This book is just brimming with magic and wonder on every page and I couldn’t read it fast enough. I’ve heard a few stories about Baba Yaga and I loved how this story wove originality with the traditional stories to create something really special.

Marinka is a great protagonist: she’s headstrong and a little selfish at times, but also thoughtful and brave and her loneliness will resonate with every young person (and old like me too!) You can really feel her yearning for true companionship and a ‘normal’ life and I understood it, even if sometimes I wanted to tell her how lucky she was to have Baba and the house!

The other characters in the book are just as wonderful. I loved Baba Yaga: her warmth and welcoming of the dead and her relationship with the house was just adorable. And the house! It’s a character in its own right, not just a house that can walk but one with a playful and caring personality. Sometimes it was hard to imagine not loving that house, and it was great to see Marinka’s relationship with it grow and change over the book.

The story is beautifully told through poetic prose and Marinka’s first-person narration lets you feel all her emotions as her world is turned upside down. I truly felt for her as the only life she knew began to unravel. The story took some twists I didn’t expect and it all came together in the most perfect ending.

The book itself is gorgeous too: the cover is stunning and sure to catch anyone’s eye on the shelf, but in addition to this there are lovely little black and white illustrations throughout the book. It’s just another little thing that lets you know how truly special this book is.

This is a remarkable book with a magical, vivid cast of characters and a heartwarming message about family, destiny and acceptance. This is one that I can’t wait to share with Little Moore when he’s older and I know I’ll enjoy re-reading it again and again. A must read for 2018 – do yourself and the young person in your life a favour and buy this book!

March Wrap Up

It’s been a couple of months since my last wrap up post and, predictably, all my good blogging resolutions have gone out the window.

Truth is, at the moment I just don’t have the time or inclination to blog. When I do have some spare time, I really don’t want to be back at my laptop. It’s sad that I don’t feel the same way I used to about it, but that’s how things go, I guess.

I’ve recently been promoted and am going back to working full time. Between that and my own writing and looking after Little Moore (who is becoming quite a handful!) I am struggling to find time to read, let alone blog.

With that said, I’m not going to promise to do better next month. I’ll put out a few reviews for books I’ve been sent, but I’m not going to promise to post regularly. Sorry!

For now, I’ll do a double wrap up post for February and March, just so I can share all the wonderful books I’ve read.

What I Read 

I’ve lowered my Goodreads challenge from 100 books to 80, just to be a bit more realistic. I might get rid of it completely – I feel it’s been pressuring me to read as fast as I can and that’s stopping me enjoying what I’m reading.

Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Secrets of a Teenage Heiress by Katy Birchall

All About Mia by Lisa Williamson

Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy

Just So Happens by Fumio Obata

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

She, Myself and I by Emma Young

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Savage Island by Bryony Pearce

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

As Old As Time by Liz Braswell

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Clean by Juno Dawson

 

Book Post

Again, this is a bit of a catch up from the last few months, but I’ve had some really fab book post in the last couple of months.

She Persisted Around the World by Chelsea Clinton

Thanks Nina Douglas PR!

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

Thanks Sophie!

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

Thanks Egmont!

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Thanks Electric Monkey!

And I’ve also had some wonderful books via NetGalley:

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

Thanks Harper Collins Children’s Books!

We Are Young by Cat Clarke

Thanks Hachette Children’s Books!

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Thanks Macmillan Children’s Books!

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

Thanks Quercus Books!

What I Wrote:

Over the last two months, I have finished my WIP (finally!) I’ve also written a short story for a competition (fingers crossed but not holding my breath) and also started throwing a few ideas around for a new novel.

What I Did

As I mentioned above, I have a new job, which I’m really pleased about. There’s been a lot of changes going on at work and I’m excited for some new challenges ahead (even if it means doing a full working week again!) The bonus side of this is that Nathan is reducing his hours so now we’ll have some time off together, which will be great.

What Little Moore Did

Little Moore is now two and is a right bossy so-and-so! He loves telling me what to do. He had a great time at the Sea Life Centre for his birthday and got far too many toys (mostly cars, he’s obsessed with them!) We also enjoyed an Easter egg hunt with his cousin and the boys loved searching for painted eggs (and some chocolate ones too!)