In Michaela Tracey Garnett’s new novel for young adults, Poppy is a quiet girl, living alone at the edge of the woods with her grandmother and daydreaming to excess. She loves her grandmother dearly but is devoted to fairy tales, which leads her deep into the woods despite being forbidden to go there. Lo and behold, she finds actual fairies living there, and they’re ready for Poppy to join them in their alternate world. Will she go?
Away with the Fairies has romance, adventure, love, loss and glamour. Author Garnett was all of 13 years old when she started writing it, but she shows a grasp of novel structure that escapes many writers, and she cycles Poppy through numerous highs and lows, which keep things exciting. Poppy’s a charming character, too, both loyal to her family but feeling her independence for the first time, which makes her relatable to a young audience.
It must be said, though, that the book reads like a draft rather than a finished manuscript; the spelling and grammar are inconsistent, and some sentences are painful to navigate, such as, “I’m sorry, but as your beauty and sophsticatedness is high, your personality is very low.” However, these things are fairly easy to fix. Garnett deserves credit for plotting a story that hangs together and for creating a fairy world with rules and customs different from our own that is a pleasure to visit.
Away with the Fairies is not the novel it could be, but it marks the debut of an author who is just getting started and shows every sign of being a contender.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.