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  • Writer's pictureDeviant Quill

Haarvile - Justin Davies

About the book

Welcome to Haarville -- if you've arrived, you've survived. Off the grid and not on the maps, it's a place shrouded in fog and steeped in pungent pongs. Everything here smells fishy, especially the town's suspicious new arrivals.

Twelve-year-old Manx Fearty is an orphan (his family has a terrible habit of dying, terribly), and now he's about to lose their perpetual device shop to sinister newcomers claiming to be long-lost relatives. As he sets out to prove them wrong, Manx finds himself on the trail of a murky, mist-muddled mystery -- and it's one he needs to solve fast, otherwise Haarville is doomed.

With the help of his fiercely protective drag-queen guardian Father G (aka the fabulous Gloria in Excelsis), loyal best friend Fantoosh, and oystercatcher-with-attitude Olu, Manx wades through secrets, schemes, and some stomach-churning seafood. Can he save both his family's legacy and his town?

Darkly comic but full of heart, this quirky middle-grade mystery adventure from Justin Davies, award-winning author of Help! I Smell a Monster and Whoa! I Spy a Werewolf (Orchard Books), is perfect for fans of Malamander and A Series of Unfortunate Events.


Davies' writing style is witty and engaging, perfectly capturing the essence of a darkly comic, mysterious, and sometimes dramatic middle-grade story. It is infused with quirky humor and moments of genuine warmth, allowing young readers to connect with the characters and become fully immersed in this world.

The author's ability to balance humor with heartfelt emotions adds depth to the narrative, making it a well-rounded and enjoyable read, even for adults. The main character's struggles have the potential to teach children about the importance of perseverance and patience.

The illustrations turn the whole book into a fantastic literary experience.

Haarville is a book that embraces uniqueness and will undoubtedly appeal to young readers who enjoy stories with offbeat charm.

Review copy provided by Floris Books @ NetGalley

Publisher: ‎ Kelpies (June 6, 2023)

Language: ‎ English

Paperback: ‎ 296 pages

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1782508441

Reading age: ‎ 10 - 14 years

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