Family fantasy is a little confusing, but still good read

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When Liza and her younger brother, Patrick, were younger they had a babysitter named Anna who told them stories about horrible creatures, the spindlers, who live below the ground and eat souls.

When Liza and her younger brother, Patrick, were younger they had a babysitter named Anna who told them stories about horrible creatures, the spindlers, who live below the ground and eat souls. Now those stories have become a reality, and Liza doesn’t know what to do.  Her brother is missing in a place full of talking rats, spiders with hands that eat souls, trees that grow snakes and tiny creatures that make dreams and thoughts.  She has to figure out how to get his soul back. Liza goes “Below” to find her brother, and she meets a rat who will help her find her brother and take her to the spindlers’ nests. A friendship forms between the rat, Mirabella, and Liza, and Liza thinks she has found someone who finally understands her.  As Liza discovers not only the magic of Below but also the dangers, she learns the true meaning of family, friendship, and how love will give can give her strength she never knew she had.
I thought Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver, was very nice because of the family message; Liza wants to save her brother and will do anything for him. However, it had a complex plot, so readers need to be able to keep up with a lot of characters and places. I also thought it had a nice fantasy element, but some of it seemed a little over the top at times, so I think it could have been less complicated than it was. I would recommend it for kids 11 and up because there are some intense moments, and some moments I needed to re-read to keep up with. Overall, I thought this book was okay but could have been simpler to follow.