C.S. Lewis’ Narnia Has Company in the Beautifully-Crafted World of "Elsewhere"

Each day leading up to the April 14 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2012 Young People’s Literature Finalist:

The Books of Elsewhere: Spellbound

Jacqueline West

Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Group USA Inc.

Category Sponsor: Sit Investment Associates


In this second volume of the acclaimed Books of Elsewhere series, 11-year-old Olive hunts a lost spellbook, the contents of which will help free her new friend Morton from the strangely silent and eerily sinister world of Elsewhere, to which the paintings in her mansion are the only portal.

An Excerpt from Spellbound:

Everyone who lived in the big stone house on Linden Streen eventually went insane. That was what the neighbors said, anyway.

Mr. Fergus told Mr. Butler about Aldous McMartin, the house’s first owner, a weird old artist who wouldn’t sell a single painting and who only came out of the house at night. Mrs. Dewey and Mr. Hanniman whispered about Annabelle McMartin, Aldous’s granddaughter, who had kicked the bucket right there inside the house at the age of 104, with no friends or family to notice she was dead except for her three gigantic cats.

And now there were these new owners – these Dunwoodys – who appeared to have already bought their tickets for the crazy train.


In addition to her young adult fiction writing, Jacqueline West is a two-time Pushcart Award nominated poet. She was a previous finalist for the Minnesota Book Award with The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows. She lives in Red Wing.


“Equal parts spooky and funny. A delight!”
– Minnesota Book Awards judge

“Middle-grade writing as it should be.”
– Minneapolis Star Tribune

“The house is as much a character as are Olive, Morton, and her family, and a wicked sense of humor tempers the book’s creepiness. A suspenseful plot and insight into childhood loneliness will have readers anxiously awaiting the next book.”
– Publishers Weekly


In this video, meet up-and-coming author Jacqueline West and learn the inspiration behind the series’ principal setting, the McMartin mansion on Linden Street.

Catch The Books of Elsewhere’s teaser trailer, featuring the artwork of illustrator Poly Bernatene.


Award winners will be announced at the 24th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel – Saint Paul Riverfront. The opening reception begins at 7 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. New this year: a post-awards “Epilogue Celebration.” Tickets are available online or by calling 651-222-3242. Click here for more information.

Have you read The Books of Elsewhere? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!




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