What a fantastic middle grade read this is. It was one of those stories where I didn’t quite know what to expect. I started it one evening expecting to read a few chapters before bed and then before I knew it, it was late into the night and I was turning the last page! I had one serious book hangover the following morning…

Noah Bradley’s family has been cursed and no matter how hard they try to hide, the curse hunts them down and destroys their homes. At house number 13, though, Noah really wants to stay: he loves his school, friends and his bedroom and thinks that it’s time he should be finally able to unpack his possessions from his usually packed and ready rucksack. When the curse returns yet again and Noah’s mum and dad are away, Noah decides that it’s time to tackle the issue head on and finally break the curse that’s made their life a misery for so long.

Opening with an intriguing scene-setter which immediately grips your attention, there are lots of threads to this story. It’s not just all about the adventure, danger and mystery, it’s about the interaction and bonds between siblings and friends, the fear of not fitting in, the embracing of difference and ultimately feeling comfortable in your own skin. I think that lots of children will be able to relate to Noah, his younger brother Billy (who has a hearing disability) and their friend Neena, who is considered a social outcast at school, and I loved how the tension built throughout the story with the added twist at the end. It was very different to anything I’ve read recently and it felt really accomplished: a great story line, a cracking mix of magic and reality and topical themes absolutely hit the spot. Brilliant stuff.

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