The History of Mischief by Rebecca Higgie. (2020).
**4.5 out of 5 stars**
**Thank you to Fremantle Press for providing a free advance readers copy of this novel; due to be published 1 September 2020**
After the death of their parents, Jessie and her older sister Kay move to their grandmother’s abandoned house. One night they discover ‘The History of Mischief’ hidden away. From Ancient Greece to war-torn China, from the Ethiopian Empire to Victorian England, the pages reveal a world of mischief and mystery, adventure and adversity. But not everything is as it seems, in the book or in her life, and Jessie is determined to find the truth. The book has a history of its own. Unraveling its secrets might be the biggest mischief of all.
This book was the winner of the 2019 Fogarty Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript and when you read it, it’s easy to see why. Marketed as a young adult novel for readers aged 12 plus, I think this one will be greatly enjoyed by both teens and adults. It is not easy to slot this book into a genre, the closest description would be a kind of historical adventure mystery with a touch of fantasy. The majority is set from 9 year old Jessie’s point of view with the addition of chapters from ”The History of Mischief’; these chapters are nothing short of fascinating. For me personally, I grew up near the area where Jessie and Kay live so that was so cool to see things mentioned that I’m familiar with. I also work in a library so appreciated the clear love of libraries demonstrated through the narrative. I adored Jessie’s friend Theodore, he was a great little secondary character. Grief plays a large part in this story with various forms of it and its effects on different characters. I did not see the end coming at all, and I love when that happens; it was very well done.
Very happily recommend this novel for teenagers and adults alike.