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Samuel Blink and the Runaway Troll
The second book in the Samuel Blink series

by Matt Haig

      UK writer Matt Haig recently branched out into children's fantasy and found himself the winner of the Nestlé Children’s Book Prize, the most prestigious award for juvenile books in England, for the first book in a new series about Samuel Blink. That book, called Shadow Forest in the UK and Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest here in America, introduced young readers to orphans Samuel Blink and his younger sister Martha who have come to Norway to live with their Aunt Eda and Uncle Henrik near a foreboding forest full of trolls, pixies, tomtegubbs, and huldre-folk—all straight from Norwegian legends. Haig continues that story in Samuel Blink and the Runaway Troll.

In this new installment in the adventures of Samuel Blink, the forest is no longer a dangerous place, but it still holds some pitfalls, especially for Troll-Son, who has lost the family eyeball, which he shares with his parents and his little sister. Troll-Mother is so upset she threatens to send him to the Betterer, a ruthless troll who tries to force troll children to behave like humans. That's when Troll-Son decides to run away from home and go to live with Samuel Blink, his hero. But Troll-Son's arrival comes on a day that Samuel's sister Martha has invited Cornelia, the richest, snobbiest girl in school, to her house for a sleep over. Unbeknown to the household, Cornelia is there to spy for her father, who has stoked a long-time grudge against Uncle Henrik. Needless to say, all manner of funny situations unfold and many tense close-calls happen. Then the story takes a dark turn as Troll-Father and the Betterer march upon the human household to take Troll-Son back, while the Betterer has an even more sinister agenda planned.

Matt Haig’s wry sense of humor can be found in his running commentary, sometimes even as intrusive author asides, as well as his ability to get inside his characters' heads.  His broad humor, which often drops into slapstick, will have young readers rolling with laughter. Samuel Blink and the Runaway Troll is a delightful read, giving readers a very different fairytale landscape to roam in. It is my hope that Haig will find more adventures for Samuel Blink and his family and friends. This series could be very long lasting.

The Book

Putnam Juvenile
ARC of hardcover
0399247408 / 978-0399247408
Tweener Fiction, fantasy
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The Reviewer

Janie Franz
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Janie Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: It’s a Business, Stupid!and co-author of The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book.
© 2009