Title: The Menagerie
Authors: Tui T. & Kari Sutherland
Pub. Date: March 12, 2013
Summary: Logan Wilde is accidentally drawn into the mysterious, dangerous world of the Menagerie when he discovers a griffin hiding under his bed . . . and it leads him straight to the weirdest girl in seventh grade, Zoe Kahn.
Zoe is panicking. Her family has been guarding the Menagerie for centuries. If they don’t get the cubs back fast, the whole place will be shut down. To save the griffins’ lives, she’s willing to break all the rules, even if it means letting an outsider like Logan help. But the real mystery remains: Is someone trying to sabotage the Menagerie?
Who let the griffins out…and why?
Genre: MG, Fantasy
The Menagerie is a book that caught my attention the moment I first heard of it. I recently discovered my library had a copy and immediately requested in. I was absolutely delighted that no one else had put a hold on it or had it checked out; I could get started right away!
Logan Wilde is having a pretty crummy summer. His mother left home one day and later sent a postcard stating she wouldn’t be returning home to Logan and his father. Naturally the two are hurt and heartbroken and Logan’s dad makes the decision to quit his job as a lawyer, pack up, and move to a tiny nowhere town in Wyoming – hoping to find some sort of clue as to where his wife went.
Now Logan is stuck in Xanadu and can’t seem to make a friend out of the whopping 24 students in Seventh Grade. That all changes one day after overhearing Zoe’s – the weirdest girl in school – and Blue’s – the most popular boy in school – frantic worries about Zoe’s missing dog. Zoe and Blue are the last two people Logan would ever imagine talking to, let alone hanging out with, and offers his aid in locating the missing pet. As if that wasn’t strange enough, Logan comes home to discover a baby griffin in his bed. A baby griffin that can talk to him.
Griffins, strange conversations, and stores missing their entire stock of food? Just what on earth is happening in Xanadu?
Okay, be honest: who wouldn’t want to find out griffins, yeti, and unicorns are real? & not just that, but they’re all being housed in your own town! Logan’s reaction to this realization is, naturally, pure shock. Ultimately his initial surprise wears off and is simply in awe of the creatures he sees. Zoe’s house is in near-total seclusion on an enormous area of land. The Menagerie can be found there and it’s under the protection of Zoe’s family. And Blue…well, turns out he’s half merman. And, yeah, about the lost ‘dog.’ Somehow six griffin babies escaped their pen in the middle of the night and it’s up to Zoe’s family (along with Blue) to find them. Having griffins run amok in town would be a cause for panic anytime, but the SNAPA – SuperNatural Animal Protection Agency – are set to drop in for an inspection and if those griffins aren’t found by the end of the week, the Menagerie could be shut down. Or worse.
Giant hellhounds who are actually big, loveable, and slobbery; a mammoth named Captain Fuzzbutt; and an ADORABLE griffin named Squorp (who happens to love hamburgers) made The Menagerie an absolute joy. Add in shout-outs to Diana Wynne Jones, Men in Black, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and SO many more. This book was a ton of fun, although I will say there was a downside: everything wrapped up a little too nicely for me. Logan just happened to be right – on the first try – anytime he guessed at a location for one of the griffins. Also, the ending was a total cliffhanger and there were multiple plots left hanging. There were a lot of questions I had that weren’t answered, but I have high hopes for the sequel!