What it’s about: Twelve-year-old Horace F. Andrews is a very logical person. So when he sees a sign with his name on it through a bus window on the way home from school, he decides to investigate. And the results are most certainly not logical. Instead, he finds himself pulled into an ancient war over Tan’ji, objects with magical powers, and discovers his own Tan'ji, an extraordinary box he immediately feels a bond with. Charged with uncovering the abilities of the box on his own, he becomes entangled in a complex conflict that will stretch the limits of time, magic, science—and fight to save this improbable, illogical, extraordinary side of the world which he never knew existed.
Why we chose it: The Box and the Dragonfly is a fast-paced, clever, and highly amusing fantasy that kept me engrossed from start to finish. Horace is a smart, determined, appealing protagonist, supporting character Chloe is irritable and hilarious, and the rest of the cast is quirky and fresh. As I was writing the above book description, I was struck by how many of the elements of The Box and the Dragonfly aren't uncommon in fantasy (scientifically inclined protagonist, ancient struggle, magical objects), yet the way Sanders uses them is genuinely fresh and unique, and one particular aspect of the generally excellent plot is truly original and different from anything I've ever read before! Quirky characters and clever twists, plus a brilliant plot unfolding in multiple times (read it and you'll see what I mean!) make this book an absolute standout.