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Reviewed by Constance Stadler for Readers' Favorite
Frowns and Gowns: The Mischief Series Book 5 by Amanda M. Thrasher is a tale of seemingly unlikely friendships and fantastic events where magic mixes with beauty and playful skulduggery. In a world where fairies dwell, amazing happenstances become familiar. The central event is the upcoming fairy ball, an unparalleled gala. Preparations include conferring with the multi-talented spider, Broderick, a phenomenal baker, and then happily coming together to gather needed ingredients. At each step along the way, the bonds between Lilly, the beautiful and reflective group leader, and her mischievous friends Boris and Jack become increasingly apparent. Pearle, who can fly but not walk and is delighted to go about in her chariot, is also close to Lilly. Faculty elders are equally special, coming together in compassionate response to the plight of a single student. One element disturbing this realm of serenity is the need for invisible special agents led by Chester, sworn to protect Lilly and any other boy or girl coming to harm from an unknown nemesis.
As the ball nears, whether being fitted for glorious gowns or bedecking oak trees with garlands of flowers, preparations become increasingly fast-paced and exciting. The culmination is the ball itself, where stars form a canopy of light and fairy dust dazzles, alongside an astonishing array of treats that Jack and Boris promptly devour, with gastric consequences. Amanda M. Thrasher describes every detail in such a way that enchanted wonderment continuously infuses the text. While themes are layered, making the impossible come to life through an array of beautifully etched characters and surprising plot points, interrelationships and teamwork are at the heart of the narrative. Frowns and Gowns is a book for children that makes an imaginary world so wonderfully vivid that the young reader will likely want to find a way of entering it and reveling in this one-of-a-kind realm with unmatched exuberance and wide-eyed enthusiasm.