Twelve-year-old Mary Hayes can't stand her orphanage for another night. But when an attempted escape though the stovepipe doesn't go as well as she'd hoped, Mary fears she'll be stuck in the Buffalo Asylum for Young Ladies forever.
The very next day, a mysterious woman named Madame Z appears at the orphanage requesting to adopt Mary, and the matron's all too happy to get the girl off her hands. Soon, Mary is fed a hearty meal, dressed in a clean, new nightgown, and shown to a soft bed with blankets piled high. She can hardly believe she isn't dreaming!
But when Mary begins to explore the strange nearby town with the help of her new friend, Jacob, she learns a terrifying secret about Madame Z's true identity. If Mary's not careful, her new home might just turn into a nightmare.
Award-winning author Katherine Marsh draws from Russian fairy tales in this darkly funny middle-grade fantasy novel.
Disney-Hyperion, Hardcover, January 2016, ISBN: 9781423134992
A Junior Library Guild Selection
"The suspense in this magical, adventure-filled story gets started right away and doesn't let go."
—Robert Beatty, New York Times bestselling author of Serafina and The Black Clock
"Marsh has crafted a sparkling tale full of adventure, magic, and folklore. It's a delightful mash-up of stories and traditions; imagine Little Orphan Annie crossed with Russian folklore, plunked down in the spiritualist community of Lily Dale, NY, with a dash of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away on top."
—School Library Journal, Starred (read the full review)
"There is suspense throughout and heart-stopping moments early on to draw readers into this immensely satisfying story...Well-drawn characters, an original setting, and a satisfying resolution are the ingredients that make this carefully crafted middle-grade adventure a highly rewarding read."
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred (read the full review)
"Engaging characters and a suspenseful plot combine for a thoroughly satisfying read....This atmospheric book should find a wide audience."
—Booklist (read the full review)
"Plucky Mary is a heroine to root for...Figures from Russian folklore pop up throughout (the Firebird, a rusalka, a domovoi), and Baba Yaga's flying mortar and pestle leads to a memorable, magical picnic in the sky."
—The Horn Book