The Books of Elsewhere is a fantasy series for young readers written by Jacqueline West. Beginning with The Shadows, the series follows the adventures of eleven-year-old Olive Dunwoody as she travels to Elsewhere: the world inside the antique paintings on the walls of the old stone house on Linden Street. Danger and mystery are around every corner as Olive encounters evil magic, talking cats, and a small boy trapped inside the painted world.
Jacqueline West is the author of the award-winning middle grade series The Books of Elsewhere. Books in the series have garnered starred reviews, state award nominations, and a spot on the New York Times Bestsellers List. The series is published by Dial Books for Young Readers (a division of Penguin Random House) in the USA and will also be published in Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Indonesia, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, and Catalan.
Jacqueline loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, is sadly allergic to cats (though she manages to write about them without developing a rash), and is at least a little bit afraid of all fish larger than a hot dog bun. If you are sharing a pizza, she will ask for the crust pieces. Jacqueline lives amid the bluffs of Red Wing, Minnesota, with her husband and her dog, a Springer Spaniel mix named Brom Bones.
Old Ms. McMartin is definitely dead, and her crumbling Victorian mansion lies vacant. When eleven-year-old Olive and her dippy mathematician parents move in, Olive is right to think there's something odd about the place - not least the strange antique paintings hanging on its walls. But when she finds a pair of old glasses in a dusty drawer, Olive discovers the most peculiar thing yet: she can travel inside these paintings to Elsewhere, a place that's strangely quiet...and eerily familiar. Olive soon finds herself ensnared in a plan darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. It's up to her to save the house from the shadows, before the lights go out for good. Published by Dial Books in June 2010
"The house is as much a character as are Olive, Morton, and her family, and a wicked sense of humor tempers the book's creepiness. A suspenseful plot and insight into childhood loneliness - handily amplified by Bernatene's moody and dramtically lit b&w illustrations - will have readers anxiously awaiting the next book."
"Middle-grade writing as it should be."
"Beautifully written, deliciously scary..."
With no way into the old McMartin house's enchanted paintings, Olive is getting desperate. Her friend Morton is still trapped inside Elsewhere, and the house's three guardian cats are reluctant to help. So when Rutherford, the oddball kid next door, mentions a grimoire - a spellbook - Olive feels a breathless tug of excitement. If she can find the McMartins' spellbook, maybe she can help Morton excape Elsewhere for good. Unless, that is, the book finds Olive first. Published by Dial Books in July 2011
"5 out of 5 stars… The Books of Elsewhere are great for boys or girls, with plenty of action, just enough thrills and scares, and lots of humor."
"I loved The Shadows... and Spellbound might be even better, in that there is more of everything to love and some new things besides."
"Readers might be too caught up in the adventure leading up to a tense final faceoff to notice the lyrical language, but author West is a an award-winning poet, and her writing is often quite beautiful. ("She floated like milkweed. Dewy breezes played with the ends of her hair.") Hopefully, readers will spend more time appreciating her prose when they reread this one. This is a volume they surely will want to read again and again."
Some terrifying things have happened to Olive in the old stone house, but none as scary as starting junior high. When she plummets through a hole in her backyard, however, she discovers two things that may change her mind: First, the wicked Annabelle McMartin is back. Second, there's a secret in an underground room that unlocks not one but two of Elsewhere's biggest, most powerful, most dangerous forces yet. With the house's guardian cats acting suspicious, her best friend threatening to move away, and her ally Morton starting to rebel, Olive isn't sure where to turn. Will she figure it out in time? Or will she be lured into Elsewhere, and trapped there for good? Published by Dial Books in July 2012
"The Books of Elsewhere series continues to delight."
"West brings her poet's touch, along with a generous serving of whimsy, to these pages. Olive's everyday problems make her relatable and sympathetic, while her superhuman problems tickle the imagination."
"Readers will cheer as Olive and her friends - furry and otherwise - learn to trust and depend on each other in this volume. And they will be thrilled when author West concludes this volume with plenty of possibilities for future installments."
It’s Halloween. But not for Morton, who’s trapped in Elsewhere. Good thing Olive has a plan: Swallowing her dread of the McMartins, she sneaks Morton out and takes everyone trick-or-treating. But when they’re followed by a creature who’s not all he seems, they’re in for a surprise - something, or someone, is living in Mrs. Nivens’s abandoned house. Yes, strangers have come to Linden Street. And though they claim to be her allies, Olive has a bad feeling. She returns home late Halloween night to discover something worse: Her parents are gone.
Desperate to get them back, Olive strikes an unbalanced bargain with Annabelle McMartin and loses something incredibly valuable in the process - something that could mean doom for the house, and for Elsewhere itself. Turning to her uncertain allies, Olive attempts to sever the McMartins’ power at its root, unleashing a flood of darkness and terror that could overwhelm not only her, but the house and everyone in it. To mend her mistakes, Olive must determine who to trust. Will she put her faith in her own worst enemies to save the people and the home she loves? Published by Dial Books in July 2013
"The series’ many fans will be happy to revisit Olive and friends (including three memorable talking cats)... They’ll even be glad to see the frightening Annabelle McMartin, whose reappearance leads to a stunning conclusion. And they’ll certainly look forward to more Elsewhere."
- Booklist Online
"Something that sets this series apart from most Middle Grade fantasies is that the magic is right there, filling the main character's house. In most domestic fantasies, there's maybe a magical item that grants wishes, or takes the kids on journeys, but here Olive is surrounded by enchantments in her own home, making it both sanctuary and locus of danger, which adds considerably to the tension. ...In short, gripping, and the introduction of new characters and new twists that challenged Olive afresh made it interesting."
"The book is filled with funny characters, including misfit protagonist Olive, who once again finds incredible strength to save the people she loves, and three loyal and likable talking cats."
"In the fourth installment, Mrs. West does a remarkable job of building on the suspense of the previous books... A five out of five book for me."
Five out of Five Stars... This is book 4 in the Elsewhere series and I can’t believe I haven’t read any of them before! Seriously put this on your reading list now!
The fifth and final book in The Books of Elsewhere, the award-winning, New York Times bestselling, fan-favorite series—absolutely not to be missed.
Annabelle McMartin is gone for good, but something worse lurks just out of sight—watching, waiting, preparing to strike. Then a field trip to the local art museum reveals a shock. What Olive discovers will create a chain of events that propel her to discoveries she may not wish to uncover, involving Morton's vanished parents and the very deepest, darkest roots of Aldous McMartin's creepy painted world. In this fifth and final book, Olive must seek the full, complex story of Elsewhere, its magical origins, and its creator, and in so doing, face her own fears and limitations—and possibly the destruction of Elsewhere itself. How far will Olive go to save the people and home she loves? And what will be the final cost?
A must-read fantasy series for fans of Pseudonymous Bosch, Coraline, and Septimus Heap.