It is a difficult time for the young Gran. He has just moved to a new town, started at a new middle school, he's trying to re-envision himself, and his family situation is unstable. The strange town of Carousel, and its even stranger residents, aren't helping with the transition either. But Carousel has a secret, a secret Gran discovers by following the mysterious Catalina. The entire area is underscored with tunnels created by an entity called the Hollows which is trying to devour everything above. Catalina, and those like her called Lifters, lift up their homes using the brick-a-brack that they can scrounge up, but this is only a stop-gap measure. Once he works up the confidence, Gran has some other ideas. The narrator's voice matches that of Gran, initially sounding resigned, rather than angry or sad. This tone livens up as he becomes more invested in saving the town. Curiosity keeps us reading because the setting has that slightly magical underpinning, and quirkiness, much like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Unfortunately some will feel an incongruity between the real world setting and its non-real world like logic. This logic can work, but needs to be used consistently. In the Lifters, it just feels like it comes out of left field. In general, children will remember the book for its premise, and not this though. Also, they will benefit from the book's allegorical message of how it takes happiness to defeat sadness.

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