Underlibraries and Book Shops


In the book “Pages & Co.:The Bookwanderers” by Anna James; Matilda, Tilly, Pages is living with her grandparents in a small family-owned book shop in London. She is quite a vivacious reader, reading multiple books at a time to occupy her day. Her friend whose mother owns a cafe, Crumbs, across from Pages & Co often stops by to ask Tilly book questions.

Tilly knows that her father passed away before she was born; her grandparents know very little about him. Her mother, however, disappeared when Tilly was young, vanishing without leaving a trace. Tilly is eager to find out more about her mother and find her. When she finds an old box full of her mother’s favorite books, strange occurrences start to become a regular thing. Tilly sees her grandmother talking to a woman she has never seen before. As soon as Tilly turns away, the woman vanishes into thin air. She thinks nothing of it at first. She then sees her grandfather talking with a man wearing a trench coat and a pipe in his mouth. Again when she looks away, the man is gone. Neither of her grandparents talk about what she saw, but were clearly panicked. 

Tilly soon starts to see characters out of books. She can touch them and talk to them, while they can respond. After she ropes her friend from down the street into the mess of real-life fiction characters appearing in the book shop, they realize that they can go into books and interact with the characters. 

It is a quick read and contains easy vocabulary. In some parts, it was a bit rocky and hard to understand but for the most part, the chapters are well developed. It quickly jumps to the plot and obstacles. Each setting and mood of the scene are well described, showing the reader what Tilly and her friend saw inside the books and in The Underlibrary. 

Characters throughout the novel didn’t seem to change nor were they affected by the plot of the story. They often had the same outlook on their lives and perspective that was firm and permanent despite the plot of the story. Their mood hardly changed, always happy or always suspicious of the rest of the characters. Tilly had many descriptions to describe her appearance but not how she change from the events that took place, nor her character perspective.