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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Around Curiosity's Edge: Hidden Meridians by JP Hostetler is an action-packed journey about hope, destiny, and second chances. Salem is embarking on an adventure to Easterly where he discovers a secret world of schemes and secrets, bringing his imagination to life right before his eyes. He doesn't know what to expect when he moves onto the boat where his uncle lives or the secret world he'll soon discover. Salem felt like his life was out of his control with no parents; social anxiety had kept him out of school over the last few years. So after losing his mother, he's sent to live with his uncle until his upcoming birthday when they'll reassess if any adjustments are necessary. He never expected to discover a place for himself on this unusual ship and shocking secrets about his own family origins.
The book features an ensemble group of characters that are vividly created thanks to their dynamic and layered personalities. JP Hostetler has successfully delivered a character-driven plot that makes you feel like you get to know them individually. Salem is at the heart of the story, with initially no idea of this hidden world, but he grew up with a vast imagination where he saw giants, trolls, talking animals, and other magical creatures. He has no idea who his father was but he keeps his journal close and gave up asking questions about him. The search for the truth for his father is a key element to his journey and what he discovers about himself. He's reunited with an uncle he hasn't seen in years and is currently living on a ship where he is introduced to a variety of characters, including a sloth named Atlas. This bond opens up an opportunity for healing his uncle's past and giving Salem a chance at his future. The story has intricate themes seen throughout such as Curiosity, which is a catalyst into second chances, magic, and a brighter future. The world is full of twists on classic beings such as gnomes who aren't pleased with how humans have forced them to care for their gardens. Around Curiosity's Edge is a fascinating, character-driven epic fantasy adventure about curiosity, family, connection, new beginnings, hope, and charting one's own destiny.