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Even the smallest wish can be dangerous. That’s why the Collectors are always keeping watch. The Collectors sweeps readers into a hidden world where wishes are stolen and dreams have a price. Fast-paced, witty, and riveting, this contemporary fantasy adventure has magic woven through every page. It's the first book in a two-book series from Jacqueline West, the New York Time Even the smallest wish can be dangerous. That’s why the Collectors are always keeping watch. The Collectors sweeps readers into a hidden world where wishes are stolen and dreams have a price. Fast-paced, witty, and riveting, this contemporary fantasy adventure has magic woven through every page. It's the first book in a two-book series from Jacqueline West, the New York Times–bestselling author of The Books of Elsewhere series. For fans of Serafina and the Black Cloak, The Isle of the Lost, and The Secret Keepers. Van has always been an outsider. Most people don’t notice him. But he notices them. And he notices the small trinkets they drop, or lose, or throw away—that’s why his collection is full of treasures. Then one day, Van notices a girl stealing pennies from a fountain, and everything changes. He follows the girl, Pebble, and uncovers an underground world full of wishes and the people who collect them. Apparently not all wishes are good and even good wishes often have unintended consequences—and the Collectors have made it their duty to protect us. But they aren't the only ones who have their eyes on the world’s wishes—and they may not be the good guys, after all.  


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Even the smallest wish can be dangerous. That’s why the Collectors are always keeping watch. The Collectors sweeps readers into a hidden world where wishes are stolen and dreams have a price. Fast-paced, witty, and riveting, this contemporary fantasy adventure has magic woven through every page. It's the first book in a two-book series from Jacqueline West, the New York Time Even the smallest wish can be dangerous. That’s why the Collectors are always keeping watch. The Collectors sweeps readers into a hidden world where wishes are stolen and dreams have a price. Fast-paced, witty, and riveting, this contemporary fantasy adventure has magic woven through every page. It's the first book in a two-book series from Jacqueline West, the New York Times–bestselling author of The Books of Elsewhere series. For fans of Serafina and the Black Cloak, The Isle of the Lost, and The Secret Keepers. Van has always been an outsider. Most people don’t notice him. But he notices them. And he notices the small trinkets they drop, or lose, or throw away—that’s why his collection is full of treasures. Then one day, Van notices a girl stealing pennies from a fountain, and everything changes. He follows the girl, Pebble, and uncovers an underground world full of wishes and the people who collect them. Apparently not all wishes are good and even good wishes often have unintended consequences—and the Collectors have made it their duty to protect us. But they aren't the only ones who have their eyes on the world’s wishes—and they may not be the good guys, after all.  

30 review for The Collectors

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    One of the things that I absolutely adored about The Collectors was the first chapter. The wonderful image of the spider dangling from the ceiling and our first glimpse at the premise. Such lovely descriptive passages that really capture your interest. The way the story has you questioning wishes. Whether all wishes should come true. Sure it's wonderful to wish for ice cream with dinner and have it come true, but what if a wish could be dangerous and needed to be stopped? Coming from a background One of the things that I absolutely adored about The Collectors was the first chapter. The wonderful image of the spider dangling from the ceiling and our first glimpse at the premise. Such lovely descriptive passages that really capture your interest. The way the story has you questioning wishes. Whether all wishes should come true. Sure it's wonderful to wish for ice cream with dinner and have it come true, but what if a wish could be dangerous and needed to be stopped? Coming from a background in speech-language pathology, I also really appreciated the inclusion of Van, a young boy who is hard of hearing and who wears hearing aids. West accurately describes Van's difficulties in communicating with people when they, for example, don't face him as they're speaking or when they speak too rapidly making it difficult for him to read their lips. There are many examples in the text of Van using the context of a conversation to decipher what the speaker is saying, thus giving the reader a better understanding of what it's like to have a hearing impairment. Eleven-year-old Van (short for Giovanni) currently lives in New York City with his mother, the famous opera singer, following their many travels all over the world. Van's gotten pretty good at being the new kid at school and spending time on his own, but he still would very much like a friend. Van loves to collect things that he finds, a blue glass marble, discarded toys, little things that go unnoticed by most. Van's also really observant. Like the day in the park where he was watching a man flip a coin into the fountain and a squirrel came flying out of the bushes followed closely by a girl. Drawn to the girl, Van tries to strike up a conversation, only to have the girl and squirrel disappear when his mother comes calling after him. Later Van sees the mysterious girl (Pebble) and squirrel (Barnavelt) from the park again and this time he follows them to an odd building belonging to the mysterious group called The Collectors. After being caught trespassing, Van is tasked with finding out information about another collector, Mr. Falborg and reporting back his finding to Pebble. Here's where the story gets really interesting. Mr. Falborg invites Van to his home to view his many collections. Once inside, Mr. Falborg shares one of his prized collections, his Wish Eaters, little creatures who have the power to make wishes come true by eating them. Mr. Falborg gives Van his very own Wish Eater and cautions him about the Collectors wanting to imprison all of the Wish Eaters. Now Van becomes very confused. On the one hand, there are the Collectors who maintain that Wish Eaters are dangerous whereas Mr. Falborg insists he only wants to protect them. There is lots of ambiguity regarding who's the good versus the bad guys, and whether all Wish Eaters are dangerous or not, which will hopefully be answered in the sequel. Now if only I could figure out the wording to safely make my wish for news about its release date. Guess I'll just have to be patient. ** E ARC received from Edelweiss Plus **

  2. 5 out of 5

    Idris

    I was provided a physical ARC of The Collectors by Jacqueline West by HarperCollins Publishers and Greenwillow Books in exchange for an honest review. 4 stars. I really enjoyed The Collectors. The writing was compulsively readable. I loved the characters and thought they were nicely defined and complex. The worldbuilding was interesting and well-distributed throughout the story. The story was clearly geared toward readers of a certain age, but despite being much older than the intended audience, I was provided a physical ARC of The Collectors by Jacqueline West by HarperCollins Publishers and Greenwillow Books in exchange for an honest review. 4 stars. I really enjoyed The Collectors. The writing was compulsively readable. I loved the characters and thought they were nicely defined and complex. The worldbuilding was interesting and well-distributed throughout the story. The story was clearly geared toward readers of a certain age, but despite being much older than the intended audience, the writing didn't strike me as immature at all. It was relatively simple, straightforward storytelling that still felt clever to me. I was a little frustrated by some of the choices made by Van, our main character, but he's a young kid thrown into the center of a big adventure. Who wouldn't make a few missteps in that situation? While my hearing is only slightly below average, I quite appreciated the inclusion of a HoH (hard of hearing) person as the main character. From my admittedly limited perspective, I thought West did well in realistically depicting what limitations Van did and didn't have as a result of being HoH and using hearing aids. More of that please!

  3. 5 out of 5

    The Reading Countess

    Holy cow. Jacqueline West, you have written a delightfully delicious fantasy story. This is a book you cannot put down until the very last page-compulsively readable! While I was sad to turn to that last page, I'm heartened to know that there is a second one coming around soon enough. The Collectors is the first in a planned two-book series. You've gotta love the world she weaves: dream eaters that remind you of Gremlins, a lovable, easily distracted squirrel, and its main characters, Van and Pebb Holy cow. Jacqueline West, you have written a delightfully delicious fantasy story. This is a book you cannot put down until the very last page-compulsively readable! While I was sad to turn to that last page, I'm heartened to know that there is a second one coming around soon enough. The Collectors is the first in a planned two-book series. You've gotta love the world she weaves: dream eaters that remind you of Gremlins, a lovable, easily distracted squirrel, and its main characters, Van and Pebble, with whom you want to be friends. The secondary characters are equally well drawn: the mysterious Mr. Falborg and Van's opera singing mother are standouts. The fact that I haven't yet mentioned Van's hearing impairment (until now, mind you) tells you that West carefully and skillfully wound that part of his persona into the plot. I especially liked that HE did not wish for that to be altered . As an elementary Language Arts teacher, I am forever grateful to writers like Jacqueline West who write UP to this age group of readers. Her word choice, world building and hidden messages, or so-whats, indicate a deep respect for her readers. And what might be some little life lessons tucked away, you wonder? While there are many, the two I plan on focusing on when our book club meets next month are BE CAREFUL FOR WHAT YOU WISH and LIFE IS FULL OF GREY AREAS. Highly recommended for the 8-12 year old crowd! Now, I'm just waiting to hear about the movie deal in the works... "Wishes are extraordinarily hard to control." "---could you understand something deeply enough that you could no longer take either side at all?"

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen Parisot

    Van is used to going around unnoticed, so he’s become an expert at noticing the stuff that everyone else ignores. He has built a collection of found objects that he keeps stowed beneath his bed. Whenever he goes out he’s always on the lookout for another treasure to add to his box. One day at the Park, he notices a gray squirrel and a strangely dressed girl stealing a coin from a fountain. Little does he know that his life is about to get much, much more interesting. This book has so much going Van is used to going around unnoticed, so he’s become an expert at noticing the stuff that everyone else ignores. He has built a collection of found objects that he keeps stowed beneath his bed. Whenever he goes out he’s always on the lookout for another treasure to add to his box. One day at the Park, he notices a gray squirrel and a strangely dressed girl stealing a coin from a fountain. Little does he know that his life is about to get much, much more interesting. This book has so much going for it. It is a truly wonderful tale for middle grade readers, and I know they will be hooked by this one. I like that the author chose to give the main character a disability. Lots of children know either a classmate or a family member who suffers from hearing impairment, and after reading this story I’m sure they will come away with a better understanding of the difficulties they face. I also like the idea of the collection of wishes, and how we should be careful what we wish for because they can have unintended consequences. The author shows there are two sides to every issue, and that there isn’t always a “right” side. Van is caught in the middle, and wants to find a compromise because he can see that each side has some valid points. Readers will love this fantasy tale that’s filled with magic, adventure and humor. They’ll fall in love with Barnavelt, the talking squirrel, and be fascinated by the spine-tingling world of the Collectors.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pages & Cup

    4.5/5 stars. What an absolutely wonderful middle-grade book! I loved the protagonist, Van Markson. He's very likable and relatable, even though he's an 11-year-old boy who's hearing impaired and I'm not. I also loved the mini-cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. They propelled the story forward. I received this book for free from the publisher.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

    A pleasant read, but not remarkable.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    The Collectors By Jacqueline West What it's all about... Van is the young son of a famous opera singer. They live wherever his mother sings. This makes Van the newest kid in his class...wherever they go. Van is also deaf and wears hearing aids but there are certain situations where he just does not hear what people are saying. Van also likes tiny things. He seems to find something odd and unique wherever he goes. He loves looking down for small discarded treasures. One day he sees a girl and her squ The Collectors By Jacqueline West What it's all about... Van is the young son of a famous opera singer. They live wherever his mother sings. This makes Van the newest kid in his class...wherever they go. Van is also deaf and wears hearing aids but there are certain situations where he just does not hear what people are saying. Van also likes tiny things. He seems to find something odd and unique wherever he goes. He loves looking down for small discarded treasures. One day he sees a girl and her squirrel...that would be Pebbles and her squirrel Barnavelt. Van can both see them and hear them and this is just not supposed to happen. This also marks his entrance into the creepy world of the Collectors. Why I wanted to read it... I love middle grade books that are mixed with a healthy dose of fantasy. This book had that delightful dose. What made me truly enjoy this book... I loved this book because of its wondrous mix of good guys, bad guys and those that are in between. Van gets braver and stronger and that is something he needed. The idea of wishes coming true when you feed the Wish Eaters was fun and then just a tiny bit scary. Well...actually...a lot scary! Wait until you find out what happens when the Wish Eaters are fed! Yikes! Why you should read it, too... Middle grade readers who love a book about a boy who can become a sort of a hero and who love adventures that take place in dark and kind of creepy places...will love this book. I can’t wait to see what Van does next! I received an advance reader’s copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss and Amazon. It was my choice to read it and review it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Plus Giovanni lives in New York City with his mother, who is an opera singer. His father was a set designer, and the one thing "Van" has kept through all of their moves to different cities is the maquette his father had- a small stage with curtains. He finds objects out on the street and uses them to reinact scenes on the stage. His frequent moves, as well as the fact that he is hard of hearing, occasionally makes it difficult for him to make friends, so when he runs into Peb E ARC from Edelweiss Plus Giovanni lives in New York City with his mother, who is an opera singer. His father was a set designer, and the one thing "Van" has kept through all of their moves to different cities is the maquette his father had- a small stage with curtains. He finds objects out on the street and uses them to reinact scenes on the stage. His frequent moves, as well as the fact that he is hard of hearing, occasionally makes it difficult for him to make friends, so when he runs into Pebble in the park, he feels a connection to her. She's a bit odd, wearing a long coat in the warm weather, but he follows her and eventually finds out that she is part of a group of Collectors who gather wishes and keeps them safe in an underground facility. He also meets Mr. Falborg, who collects a number of different things, including Wish Eaters. He claims that Pebble's group is trying to starve and abuse the Wish Eaters, who are little, tiny and cute, and he gives Van a Wish Eater of his own to keep. Since he needs to feed it wishes, he wishes for a number of things in order to feed it, but wishes are unpredictable. For example, his mother is dating the father of Peter Grey, who doesn't like Van very much, so he wishes that the two parents won't be together, and his mother gets a job at La Scala in Italy. When he then wishes to stay in New York, something happens to his mother to prevent her from traveling. The Collectors are after Van, and when they finally corral him, he finds out more information about what is going on, and decides which side he needs to be on. Strengths: The world building in this was particularly engaging, and Van is able to travel back and forth and meet with inhabitants of both worlds easily, which makes it fun. The story with Peter adds a nice dimension. Van's hearing loss is well portrayed, and his struggles with understanding speech are explained in a way that will help younger readers understand what it might be like. Having an opera singer as a mother is not something many children have, so that was interesting as well. Weaknesses: It was really hard to tell who the good guys were, and even after Van decides, I'm not entirely convinced. Mr. Falborg in particular creeped me out a bit. What I really think: If this were a stand alone, I would buy it, but I don't really need anymore fantasy series. They just are not circulating very well. I love West's The Shadows, but will encourage students to read that one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    This was a delightfully fun little book, and one that felt very much like a Miyazaki movie in print form (even more so than Howl's Moving Castle, which actually was made into a Miyazaki movie). The characters are unique, the premise is interesting, and the story is fast-paced and full of little twists to keep the reader engaged until the last page. The Collectors follows the story of a young boy named Van (short for Giovanni) Markson, who has spent his entire life going unnoticed by others. Whil This was a delightfully fun little book, and one that felt very much like a Miyazaki movie in print form (even more so than Howl's Moving Castle, which actually was made into a Miyazaki movie). The characters are unique, the premise is interesting, and the story is fast-paced and full of little twists to keep the reader engaged until the last page. The Collectors follows the story of a young boy named Van (short for Giovanni) Markson, who has spent his entire life going unnoticed by others. While nobody seems to notice his presence, however, Van sees, hears, and collects things that most other people wouldn't notice: an old key, a tiny figurine, a marble in the grass. One day, while standing by a wishing well, Van notices a girl his age with a silver squirrel on her shoulder stealing a coin from the water. Upon following her, Van learns that most people don't seem to notice her, and feels instantly drawn to the strange world in which she lives. In this world, wishes are collected and preserved by Collectors, kept from coming true to prevent chaos. Without a doubt, my favorite part of this book was the light-hearted whimsy and creativity that was clearly put into every word. As I said above, this book felt very much like a Miyazaki movie in written form. There was a heartfelt message, quirky characters, and zany moments that kept me entertained throughout the entire book. From talking animals to wishes being collected in jars, everything about this story screamed whimsy in a way that never felt gimmicky or too over-the-top. The book injects enough real-world problems (an unconventional family, having to move frequently, having a single parent date and potentially remarry, etc.) to help readers relate to the characters, while creating a really fun world that most readers would really want to live in if given the chance. I also really appreciated the fact that Van is hard-of-hearing, as there aren't many middle grade and YA books with differently abled protagonists. Much like Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, this book features a boy whose disability helps him in the fantasy universe he stumbles into. Where Percy's ADHD and dyslexia prove that he's wired for ancient Greek and combat, Van's lack of hearing ability forces him to be an extremely good listener, a crucial skill for a Collector. Van can hear things many of the other characters can't, namely the voices of the small animals that accompany most collectors. After reading the author's note at the end, it was clear that West put a lot of thought and care into accurately portraying someone who is hard-of-hearing, and I appreciated the diversity in this story. Another thing I enjoyed was that two very different sides of an argument are presented without anyone ever feeling like a strict bad guy. You have the Collectors on one hand, who are trying to keep the world safe from rogue wishes (wishes are established as being extremely unpredictable and hard to control), and Mr. Falborg trying to protect Wish Eaters on the other. As a reader, I saw both sides of the conflict: I understood that Falborg was trying to free and protect what he saw as beautiful creatures, while also understanding that Wish Eaters could become extremely dangerous and wreak havoc on the world. The book leaves it up to the readers to decide who they align with, which is incredibly smart for a middle grade novel. Much like real-world villains, the villains in this book are not black and white; they are nuanced and act a lot more like real people doing what they think is best. My one gripe about this book is that it felt very rushed at the end, leaving a lot of loose threads untied. To be fair, it felt as though West was setting this up to be the beginning of a series, meaning these loose ends will likely be tied up eventually. Without knowing for sure, however, I have a lot of questions left unanswered at the end. Does Van's mother ever find out what's going on? What happens with Van and Peter, and do their parents continue to date? Does Van ever find Pebble? How do the Collectors treat him after learning that he freed their Wish Eaters? So much was set up so quickly in this book that I felt let down when the plot was left open in the end. I felt very invested in Van and Peter's growing friendship, wanting to know more about Peter's conflict with his absent father. Peter was actually an extremely fascinating character, starting off as a kind of one-note bully and ending up as this vulnerable child who only wants his father to notice him and spend more time around him. Like Van, Peter feels jealous of his single dad's new relationship, not wanting anything to come between them or take more from him. A lot of deep, complicated emotions were being explored in this book, and I felt sad to see it end without any of them being resolved. I can only hope this was the first book in a series, as I would love to see more of this developed in future books. The friendship between Pebble and Van was sweet too, bringing two characters who initially felt like outcasts together for a common purpose. And, because this is a middle grade novel, it focused on their friendship rather than trying to create a romantic subplot. While I love romance, I can always appreciate a book that slows down and takes time to focus on more than just "who ends up with whom." This was a clean, wholesome look at friendship, and I appreciate that I could easily recommend this to a middle schooler without feeling like I might be ruining someone's innocence. This book is also highly appropriate for more conservative parents, who would prefer books without cursing or explicit imagery. Overall, I genuinely enjoyed this book, and hope to see more in this series in the future. The author weaved a delightfully fun tale with characters who felt like real people, and injected enough suspense to keep me invested the entire time. She perfectly blended fantasy and reality in what was an extremely interesting and unique premise, and one that felt like it would be at home amongst some of my favorite Miyazaki films. Fans of light-hearted fantasy with a good moral center will love this book, and I can easily see it being the next big series to hit middle grade audiences. My one complaint (that the story did not tie up loose ends) is minor, and likely to be remedied in future books. I will definitely be recommending this to some of my young library patrons, and I honestly can't wait to see what comes next in this series.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I would like to thank HarperChildrens for my free copy of Jacqueline West's THE COLLECTORS. (Now...I tried to bold and italicize sentences I took from the book, but could NOTget it to work, so those parts I stuck in quotes; hope that was alright...) So to start, WOW!!!! Wonderful, engrossing, both dark and airy read. An I-cannot-put-this-down. WHAT? This-is-the-end. Give-me-more-now-please!!!!!! read. From chapter one, the sensory, teeny-tiny detail is exquisite. The word play, phenomenal. To describe I would like to thank HarperChildrens for my free copy of Jacqueline West's THE COLLECTORS. (Now...I tried to bold and italicize sentences I took from the book, but could NOTget it to work, so those parts I stuck in quotes; hope that was alright...) So to start, WOW!!!! Wonderful, engrossing, both dark and airy read. An I-cannot-put-this-down. WHAT? This-is-the-end. Give-me-more-now-please!!!!!! read. From chapter one, the sensory, teeny-tiny detail is exquisite. The word play, phenomenal. To describe a watching spider's eyes: "She waited there, watching, her eyes glittering like the bumps on a wet blackberry." What an image that puts in your head, right? Blackberries may never look the same again :)) Eleven-year-old, hearing-impaired Van is easily looked-over by everyone (save his mom), yet notices so much more because of it; he's not blind to things that typical-hearing individuals walk by without a glance, without the time. He finds a small marble and meets a young girl with a talking squirrel (I absolutely love! Barnavelt), a duo that opens a world of magic, wishes, sounds, and collecting that stem from the littlest, seemingly un-harmful things. Yet, as Ms. West writes... "That’s the thing about small things. They’re very easy to miss. This makes small things dangerous." Van's adventure is brilliant. His character one who has learned to take things in stride even when he has no clue what to choose or where it will lead. His miss-hearing people's words, a life-long practice that I felt helped him through the confusing, darkness of what he finds with the collectors and others along the way. He will cross paths with new and unusual people and creatures. Have disagreements with new friends and others he wishes to trust, and regret decisions that will make him feel like - "He was stuck between two painful things, like a piece of skin caught in a zipper." (If you haven't noticed, I LOVE Ms. West's writing). I cracked up at that one. The image I got in my head might have been a bit more graphic than Ms. West intended, but I love her writing (have I said that already? Well, there's no down-playing it, I do and encourage everyone to give her a try). Another line I just wanted to share, that proves Ms. West will knock your socks off and have you so vividly sunk into her story you won't want to leave is: "Van's heart banged like a marble in an empty tin can." Sure, perhaps it sounds so simple and that's why it's wonderful. You hear it and see it and feel everything Van does in THE COLLECTORS. Ms. West's writing is clean and precise. I will recommend this novel to any fan of middle grade reading. Can't wait for book 2... GIMME, GIMME, GIMME!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I'm going to preface this by saying that if you haven't read West's Books of Elsewhere series, get on that STAT and make sure you have those in your arsenal. They are wonderful, and they should tide you over until this book comes out in October. You do not need to have read The Books of Elsewhere to enjoy this - they are not related to this at all - but they are excellent. So. Onward with our current read: This was an adventure! I mean, you didn't know which way it was going to go from one page to I'm going to preface this by saying that if you haven't read West's Books of Elsewhere series, get on that STAT and make sure you have those in your arsenal. They are wonderful, and they should tide you over until this book comes out in October. You do not need to have read The Books of Elsewhere to enjoy this - they are not related to this at all - but they are excellent. So. Onward with our current read: This was an adventure! I mean, you didn't know which way it was going to go from one page to the next. And certainly our main character, Van, a delightfully lovable, capable, yet underdog misunderstood, hard-of-hearing kid, didn't know! And it was his decision. So we were all on the edge of our seats. What if any wish could come true? What if ridiculous wishes or dangerous wishes could come true? Can a wish be dangerous? What if you could collect wishes? Why would anyone want to collect wishes? And oh my, these are just a few of the questions that Van ends up asking himself as he ricochets from one situation to the next. Wishes don't always turn out the way you had planned, and sometimes, you are better off leaving things unfold as they should. And who is this mysterious girl? And why is there a squirrel on her shoulder? And when Van finds out, he finds there are a lot more dangerous things than simply walking alone through the city. Things I loved: how he notices things. Finds little treasures. How he plays with them in his room. His relationship with his mother. That description of how he feels when he sees her as he exits the school building. The mysterious girl and a gent who seems harmless at first. The variables of collecting. How West has portrayed someone who is hard of hearing who yet manages to get along and thrives. And who may be who he is *because* of his disability, and not in spite of it. The world of wishes. So complicated. So fraught with perils. Wonderful characters. Oh my gosh. West does create such fine characters, you will fall in love. I loved Van and our mystery girl (and I'm not going to say her name because I just loved that reveal), and I even loved his mother the opera singer, and snidely Peter, because we all need a bit of a villain even though he is really not such a bad villain. Who is the villain? Hehehe you shall have to wait and see. I am a bit miffed that I have to wait so long now for the second book. But that's okay. That will give me time to reread this one. I ate it up, and it was sooooo good. I need seconds. I received an ARC of this from Jacqueline West in exchange for my honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    What if your wishes could come true? Best-selling middle-grade author Jacqueline West explores this idea in this delightful fantasy novel that will appeal even to older readers and adults. Van Markson, the story’s reluctant preteen protagonist, travels far and wide with his globetrotting mother, a rising opera singer. Because he never settles in one place for very long and has a hearing impairment, Van mostly keeps to himself. What he enjoys more than anything, besides the company of his mother, What if your wishes could come true? Best-selling middle-grade author Jacqueline West explores this idea in this delightful fantasy novel that will appeal even to older readers and adults. Van Markson, the story’s reluctant preteen protagonist, travels far and wide with his globetrotting mother, a rising opera singer. Because he never settles in one place for very long and has a hearing impairment, Van mostly keeps to himself. What he enjoys more than anything, besides the company of his mother, is adding found objects (small discarded or lost items, such as toy cars and figurines) to his collection. With these “treasures,” he happily re-enacts various scenes in which he becomes the heroic “Super Van.” One day, Van’s carefully ordered world of make-believe becomes astonishingly real, and his life is turned inside out. He notices a spider at a restaurant celebration oddly stealing wisps of smoke from a candle and then scurrying off. Soon thereafter, Van sees a silver squirrel and a coppery-haired girl around his age making a dash for a tossed coin in the public fountain. Not only does the girl baffle Van with her strange, frantic actions, but he discovers that the squirrel can talk! Van secretly follows them to a shabby-looking storefront that houses the City Collection Agency, sneaks in, and discovers an underground world filled with robed figures and even more talking animals engaged in a mysterious enterprise. So begins what becomes a dangerous quest for the main character, as Van tries to figure out what this group of collectors is up to. Along the way, he meets still more clusters of collectors and learns that nothing is as it appears, and that wishes have consequences—both good and bad. The author creates a richly atmospheric story filled with moments of subtle humor and many likable characters that we eagerly follow along the surprising twists and turns of the plot. Just when we think we have things figured out, the story plunges readers into even deeper and darker mysteries. West’s beautiful figurative language will delight readers of all ages. This is such an imaginative, original book that it will certainly be in demand. And those of us who enjoyed this author for the first time can look forward to reading more of her work—including her bestselling series, The Books of Elsewhere, and the planned sequel to The Collectors. This review is based on an Advance Reader’s Edition provided by the publisher.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Sackier

    Many of us take our senses for granted--at least the ones that are fully functional. But when one of them is on the blink, we're suddenly hyper aware of the detrimental deficit. In Jacqueline West's cleverly penned middle-grade fantasy, The Collectors, she expertly holds our hand and leads us through the 'hard of hearing' world of her young character Van (Giovanni Carlos Gaugez-Garcia Markson--a name given to him by his world-touring, opera singing mother), effortfully working to hear life as ev Many of us take our senses for granted--at least the ones that are fully functional. But when one of them is on the blink, we're suddenly hyper aware of the detrimental deficit. In Jacqueline West's cleverly penned middle-grade fantasy, The Collectors, she expertly holds our hand and leads us through the 'hard of hearing' world of her young character Van (Giovanni Carlos Gaugez-Garcia Markson--a name given to him by his world-touring, opera singing mother), effortfully working to hear life as everyone automatically assumes he does, and often dismisses him because he doesn't. But, as is true for many who experience a sensory impairment, other senses often ramp up their efforts to assist where a call for help is needed. Van finds his level of attention to detail far surpasses the ordinary in all of us. He observes, detects, sees, and discovers the tiny things most often overlooked--like a world in which wishes are collected, coveted, eaten, and most important, consequential. We move through Van's magical world filled with characters both delightful and horrifying, wondering, like Van, who is trustworthy, whose ambitions are honest and credible--much in the same way we are forced to rely upon our senses to gather dependable information to help discern right from wrong, and good from evil. No doubt, countless readers would love to find themselves in Van's mysterious world, and chances are, we have all been in a position where we'd give nearly anything for a bucketful of wishes, but beware of the aftermath, the ripple-effect, the results you never saw coming. West's writing in The Collectors, much like that in her incredibly engaging series, The Books of Elsewhere, will capture you within her spellbinding story and lyrical, dulcet words. Even if you cannot hear them, you will wish to see many, many more.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Valerie McEnroe

    The plot on this one is a little bit loose, making it hard to stay focused, but otherwise an interesting fantasy novel about wish granting. First, the main character. Van has hearing loss and must wear hearing aids. His mother is a famous opera singer. He collects small discarded items. He mostly keeps to himself and likes to pretend play with his miniature stage. His mother dates Mr. Grey who has a son Van dislikes. There's a lot going on in this story. It begins with Van meeting an odd girl and The plot on this one is a little bit loose, making it hard to stay focused, but otherwise an interesting fantasy novel about wish granting. First, the main character. Van has hearing loss and must wear hearing aids. His mother is a famous opera singer. He collects small discarded items. He mostly keeps to himself and likes to pretend play with his miniature stage. His mother dates Mr. Grey who has a son Van dislikes. There's a lot going on in this story. It begins with Van meeting an odd girl and her talking squirrel stealing a coin from a fountain. The next time he sees the girl he follows her into an underground facility where wishes are collected. At this point, Van doesn't understand what's going on. He gets another clue when he meets Mr. Falborg, another collector who keeps unusual creatures called wish-eaters. He gives Van a wish-eater to keep as a sort of pet, the catch being that he must feed it wishes. Van makes wishes but they always have undesirable side effects. The confusion comes with not knowing which side to trust. The Collectors, who appear to be stopping wishes, or Mr. Falborg who appears to be releasing them. The question to ponder is: What would the world be like if all wishes were granted? Answer: chaos. Hence, The Collectors. The story is well-written. It's just a question of liking the plot. I prefer the zany book Granted, by John David Anderson, about a wish-granting fairy who flubs her first mission.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*

    The Collectors by Jacqueline West, 384 pages. Greenwillow, October 2018. $17. Content: G (some danger) BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE Van, 12, has been pretty content following his opera diva mother around the world for her profession. One day, however, he runs into an abrasive girl, accompanied by a squirrel of all things, stealing coins from a fountain. The next day he sees the same girl and squirrel – this time they seem to be working with a spider to steal a wish fr The Collectors by Jacqueline West, 384 pages. Greenwillow, October 2018. $17. Content: G (some danger) BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE Van, 12, has been pretty content following his opera diva mother around the world for her profession. One day, however, he runs into an abrasive girl, accompanied by a squirrel of all things, stealing coins from a fountain. The next day he sees the same girl and squirrel – this time they seem to be working with a spider to steal a wish from a birthday party. How can Van even see that wish? He makes the quick choice to follow them and find out exactly what’s what. He doesn’t realize, unfortunately, that he is entangling himself in life and death circumstances. There are two sides to this particular quandary and neither side wishes to give Van all of the information that he needs in order to make good choices – choices that will either save the world or doom it. Welcome Van to the list of reasonable heroic young boy main characters. He’s no Alfred Kropp, but he compares favorably to Wayne Batson’s Door Within series or Jacqueline West’s Books of Elsewhere series. Cindy, Middle School Librarian https://kissthebook.blogspot.com/2018...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Wagner

    I love so many things about this novel!! First, it's book one in a two-book series. I love two-book series. This one is the perfect blend of wrapped-up and open-ended. I'm greatly looking forward to book 2 as I have plenty of questions, but I am also happy with the ending. Second, it's a chapter book appropriate for all readers, from precocious grade-schoolers all the way up to grownups with imagination (I'm 32 and adored it). Third, it's SO original! There are some really tired, if well-loved, k I love so many things about this novel!! First, it's book one in a two-book series. I love two-book series. This one is the perfect blend of wrapped-up and open-ended. I'm greatly looking forward to book 2 as I have plenty of questions, but I am also happy with the ending. Second, it's a chapter book appropriate for all readers, from precocious grade-schoolers all the way up to grownups with imagination (I'm 32 and adored it). Third, it's SO original! There are some really tired, if well-loved, kids' fantasy tropes out there, and this book diverges from them all. The last kids' fantasy that really captured my imagination this way is The Golden Compass. Fourth, the protagonist is the introverted son of an opera singer. He's also hard of hearing and uses hearing aids. His being differently abled is handled realistically, without fuss, but also without tokenizing him. I was completely rooting for this kid, and am so happy to see the hard of hearing community well represented here. Fifth, it handles moral ambiguity really well. Sometimes the answer isn't black and white. Sometimes you have to do something unpleasant because it's the right thing to do. Sometimes we can't indulge our desires because doing so is the wrong thing to do. Highly recommended!!!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    It's a series I would consider reading more from. I nearly stopped the book early in as the main character talks about whether this girl he meets in the park is homeless and/or crazy. And I cannot stand that - if you're not going to break down stigmas, the least you can do is not add to them. There are other ways to build characters and all it does is piss me off. Moving beyond that pet peeve, the rest of the book is so-so. There's the typical mg question of whether or not we can trust adults. Th It's a series I would consider reading more from. I nearly stopped the book early in as the main character talks about whether this girl he meets in the park is homeless and/or crazy. And I cannot stand that - if you're not going to break down stigmas, the least you can do is not add to them. There are other ways to build characters and all it does is piss me off. Moving beyond that pet peeve, the rest of the book is so-so. There's the typical mg question of whether or not we can trust adults. There's the character who's "chosen" or "different." There's the friend of the opposite gender so they can adventure together. I think the questions arising from the collection itself is what kept me reading. I'd love to see deeper exploration of that, but it feels like one of those books where the author doesn't think her readers are capable of that, which is disappointing. Overall, it's one to keep in the back of my mind for reader's advisory, though there are others above it on my list of recommendations with similar plots.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    MG (9-12), FICTION, FANTASY, HEARING IMPAIRED Van Markson and his Mom move around a lot. She is an opera singer. No matter where in the world they end up Van scours the ground looking for little lost objects to add to his play things -- COLLECTION. Van is hearing impaired but has an extra sense. He hears and sees things that the average person can not. Van finds himself thrown into the world of the COLLECTORS. These collectors collect WISHES that people make....in order to keep the world safe! Or MG (9-12), FICTION, FANTASY, HEARING IMPAIRED Van Markson and his Mom move around a lot. She is an opera singer. No matter where in the world they end up Van scours the ground looking for little lost objects to add to his play things -- COLLECTION. Van is hearing impaired but has an extra sense. He hears and sees things that the average person can not. Van finds himself thrown into the world of the COLLECTORS. These collectors collect WISHES that people make....in order to keep the world safe! Or do they?? And they collect the Wish Eaters, creatures that thrive on wishes and make them come true. Van also meets the mysterious Mr. Falborg, a fellow collector of objects. Mr. Falborg keeps his tiniest secrets hidden away in a secret room. And then there is Penny, an odd little girl and her squirrel who are in league with the Collectors. Van is torn between the Collectors and Mr. Falborg. Who is telling the truth?? Who is/are the villans?? I thoroughly enjoyed the plot and was kept guessing -- who to trust! You will too. This is a great read!! Kudos Jacqueline!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carrie ReadingtoKnow

    I launched into this read hoping for the best. It had a "Secret Keepers" vibe about it, ala Trenton Lee Stewart. I did think the story was clever and unique at the beginning but I didn't find West to be a riveting story teller and I have to confess boredom by the middle of the story. As the book was wrapping up I was trying to ascertain the main message that the author wanted me to take away and, for the life of me, I couldn't discover what it was. There seemed to be no clear purpose or point in I launched into this read hoping for the best. It had a "Secret Keepers" vibe about it, ala Trenton Lee Stewart. I did think the story was clever and unique at the beginning but I didn't find West to be a riveting story teller and I have to confess boredom by the middle of the story. As the book was wrapping up I was trying to ascertain the main message that the author wanted me to take away and, for the life of me, I couldn't discover what it was. There seemed to be no clear purpose or point in the story being told and without a clear purpose, my use for a book is fairly eliminated. I want to know why I'm being engaged with as a reader. I want to know what the author wants me to think about or believe in and I just could not say what the main idea is behind "The Collectors". West was unclear and vague. It definitely feels like a sequel is in the works, but for my part I'm not engaged enough to want to seek it out and so I probably won't. I can't say that I'm necessarily sorry to have read this particular title but I will say that I'm more likely to forget it as not.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Roshnara Mohamed

    The book opens with a spider scuttling away with the birthday wish of an eight year old tucked safely in a bit of webbing. From here we're swept into the world of the wish collectors - people whose responsibility it is to, well, collect the wishes made by people in order to maintain order in the world. Our protagonist Van inadvertently enters their world and learns a thing or two about wishes, wish eaters (that grant the wishes they eat) and the battle between the people who store the wishes and The book opens with a spider scuttling away with the birthday wish of an eight year old tucked safely in a bit of webbing. From here we're swept into the world of the wish collectors - people whose responsibility it is to, well, collect the wishes made by people in order to maintain order in the world. Our protagonist Van inadvertently enters their world and learns a thing or two about wishes, wish eaters (that grant the wishes they eat) and the battle between the people who store the wishes and those who grant them. This is a well thought out book that does not talk down to the children it is aimed at - it is clever and insightful, and handles disability beautifully (Van is hearing impaired). It was a fun book to read, and even though I am well above the age limit of the intended audience, I will be on the lookout for the second part of the book once it releases.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I highly recommend this fantasy for children. Although aspects of the protagonist and plot feel familiar, West creates a story that is engaging and spot on for children. Van is a likeable and believable character and I loved the talking animals, especially Barnevelt the squirrel. There is humor, mystery, real-life family issues, magic, and just the right amount of scary. I would recommend this for fans of Narnia, Wonderstruck, the Borrowers, and Harry Potter (but less dark/scary). That being sai I highly recommend this fantasy for children. Although aspects of the protagonist and plot feel familiar, West creates a story that is engaging and spot on for children. Van is a likeable and believable character and I loved the talking animals, especially Barnevelt the squirrel. There is humor, mystery, real-life family issues, magic, and just the right amount of scary. I would recommend this for fans of Narnia, Wonderstruck, the Borrowers, and Harry Potter (but less dark/scary). That being said, at 384 pages, its length may discourage younger readers. This is part one of a planned two-volume set, but does have a satisfying ending. Cannot wait for the concluding volume. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Liz Edelbrock

    This contemporary fantasy by Jacqueline West was a wonderful read. The world building is well done, the writing lyrical but not overly fussy, and the characters believeable. The story does a nice job of showing how "good" and "right" choices aren't always straightforward or obvious. I loved that the main character wears hearing aids, and his hearing difference is what allows him to notice small and fantastical things. There was humor, action, adventure, and heart. Highly recommend for any middle This contemporary fantasy by Jacqueline West was a wonderful read. The world building is well done, the writing lyrical but not overly fussy, and the characters believeable. The story does a nice job of showing how "good" and "right" choices aren't always straightforward or obvious. I loved that the main character wears hearing aids, and his hearing difference is what allows him to notice small and fantastical things. There was humor, action, adventure, and heart. Highly recommend for any middle grade reader (and middle grade readers at heart!) *I received an ARC of this book from the publisher.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    Thank you to Greenwillow/Harper Collins for the advance reader’s edition of this book. This is a fantasy novel for middle grades (ages 8 - 12). I’m way beyond that age, and I’m not usually a fan of fantasy novels, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The main character Van accidentally enters a world where dreams can come true, but also finds you have to be careful what you wish for. The wishes may not always be granted in the way that you wished. This would be an excellent book to use as a teachi Thank you to Greenwillow/Harper Collins for the advance reader’s edition of this book. This is a fantasy novel for middle grades (ages 8 - 12). I’m way beyond that age, and I’m not usually a fan of fantasy novels, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The main character Van accidentally enters a world where dreams can come true, but also finds you have to be careful what you wish for. The wishes may not always be granted in the way that you wished. This would be an excellent book to use as a teaching tool to show how your actions may not always have the expected result.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I can't say enough good things about this Book! I devoured it! I really liked how much research Jacqueline did on deaf and HOH( Hard of hearing) students to make Van be an authentic HOH character. I really liked the fantasy plot line about the collectors and how everything is not as it seems. That ending has me wanting a second book already! I need to know what happens next! I absolutely recommend it!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Risser

    Jacqueline West writes the perfect middle grade novel. This story held the right amount of humor, mystery, and magic to keep me speeding through the pages. Van is a very likable main character. I loved that he wears hearing aids and doesn’t want to be changed. He likes himself as he is. He is brave and smart. The imagery and descriptions were so beautiful. This is a fun book for all ages!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Wright

    Have you ever made a wish on a star, or a coin, or candle? Did you ever think about how badly wrong that wish could go? Van, who is deaf without his hearing aids, finds himself caught between those who capture wishes to keep them "safe" and those who want them set "free." Fabulous concept, fast-paced plot, unusual characters. I loved this!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Suspenseful and compelling, this middle grade fantasy is totally immersive in its depiction of a world where wishes can come true or safely be locked away. Van, and the strange girl he meets named Pebble, are likeable, realistically portrayed, and fun to read about. Unfortunately, the end doesn't resolve clearly, and leaves the reader with lots of questions - and wishes for a sequel.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shae McDaniel

    I love this book so much. I love the nuance. I love that the protagonist is Deaf. I love that the plot goes beyond the surface "be careful what you wish for" trope into something deeply interesting. I've already read it twice and can't wait to make it thrice.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Blair

    DNF. This story is cute, but it is a truly MIDDLE GRADE book. For that reason, I couldn't get into it. However, I am sure there are plenty of middle grade readers that would enjoy this story.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cathleen

    My kids and I are looking forward to the opportunity to review,"The Collectors" by Jacqueline West.

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