There is a quest, heroism and all the makings of a modern middle grade myth here. Belladonna is a delightful heroine. Steve is annoying and funny. It is only his delinquency paired with Belladonna's dutiful studiousness that allows them access to the Land of the Dead to try to save the world. The adult characters are thinner than Belladonna and Steve in characterization and their knowledge and motivations are left frustratingly vague. The target age range won't find this terribly scary but they will be taken in by the charm and entertainment herein. While there were a few slow patches and some stereotypical bits including obstructionist adults unwilling to share knowledge with Belladonna, over all this was a fun read and one that would do well as the first in a series.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy of this book.