The Memory Thief (Leonie Agnew, Puffin)
Following her last spellbinding tale The Impossible Boy, Leonie Agnew has created another spine-tingling adventure novel for middle-grade readers. The Memory Thief tells the magical story of an unlikely friendship between a lonely troll and a precocious young girl. All Stella wants is to leave her memories behind, while Seth is desperately trying to remember his. These two characters are so vividly developed that they leap off the page, and readers will find themselves empathising especially with narrator Seth, who fights against his troll instinct to devour human memories, to instead offer Stella kindness and companionship through a difficult time. Their improbable allegiance is delicately constructed and wonderfully heartwarming. The Memory Thief also presents thrills aplenty and a good dose of mystery, keeping readers on the edge of their seats until the very end. The journey to figuring out exactly why Stella is trying to forget her memories, and which ones Seth is trying to remember, is sometimes perilous, mostly feel-good and ultimately full of hope and redemption. The language is rich yet accessible, making it perfect for middle-grade readers at all levels who like to get swept away with a story. Coupled with enchanting illustrations by Kieran Rynhart, this story is sure to be cherished by young fantasy fans.
Karys McEwen is the library manager at Prahran and Richmond High School and the president of the CBCA VIC Branch.