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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Little Wade and Watchtower: Abigail and the Great Gang Trap by Sean March is a fascinating adventure for children and pre-teens. The year is 1899, and little Abigail is the new kid on the block--a transplant from her old home in the country to her new home in New York City. She is a young girl who, like many then and now, doesn't have it easy. Fever took her mother's life, and her father is over-worked with having multiple jobs. Abigail wants to go to school, but there is a dangerous gang called the Longshadows that have trapped her, with no way out. That's when renowned Little Wade and Watchtower enter the picture, entities that have protected children in New York City for almost a century. Abigail and the two put their heads together and come up with a plan to trap the gangsters and put an end to their iron-fist reign once and for all. The lives of her loved ones are in danger. Abigail is a smart, tenacious girl who will stop at nothing to turn things around. At one point she passes as a boy to get by safely.
This is the perfect book for young readers to lose themselves in. The story is relatable as it features a main character with problems that some readers will recognize and bond with. March has a creative way with phrasing and descriptions that appeal to the senses. He makes you feel as though you're walking along the cobblestone streets of New York City with the characters. There is a little darkness in the story, but a lot of light and the threads of friendship and hope sew it all together. If you like stories of characters overcoming obstacles and outwitting dark forces, this is a must-read. Abigail finds strength within herself with help from Little Wade and Watchtower, and I like it when she realizes she doesn't have to face things alone.
The author's pacing is just right for young readers to latch onto a lengthy novel. There is a lot to unpack in the story--some science, history, the supernatural, even some steampunk elements. But it goes by quickly, and immersing yourself in this book and in these characters is a lot of fun. Some of the fanciful occurrences are enticing to the imagination. I gladly recommend this to young readers, schools, libraries, or just anyone looking for a fun read with a lot of heart. Fans of Neil Gaiman will gobble up Little Wade and Watchtower: Abigail and the Great Gang Trap by Sean March.