Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Olivia Kidney and The Exit Academy

Olivia Kidney and The Exit Academy

Ellen Potter
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Penguin, 2005   ISBN: 0399241620

Olivia Kidney's father has been fired from his job – yet again. Feeling very put out, Olivia goes with her father to his new place of work, an old brownstone house not far from the place where she used to live in New York City. The new house looks very grim from the outside, and it is decidedly odd on the inside; there is a lagoon in the downstairs part of the house, which makes it necessary for visitors and residents to travel around in little boats.

There are other odd things about the new house. For one thing, Ansel, the charismatic man who owns the house, does not seem to expect Olivia's father to do any work. Then there are the strange visitors who arrive at the house in the middle of the night. And, of course, there are the ghosts. Olivia is not too surprised at this because she already knows that she can see the dead. However, she is not sure why these particular ghosts want from her.

None of this makes any sense until a friend from Olivia's recent past arrives on the scene. Madame Brenda, the world famous psychic medium, comes to stay with her son, Ansel, and she helps Olivia to better understand the secrets of her strange new home. She also helps Olivia to see that she, Olivia Kidney, can not only see ghosts, but she can help them.

Once again, Ellen Potter beautifully combines humor with more serious themes to give her readers a story that is moving, funny, and quite delightful. Readers will have a grand time following the various threads in the story, which Ellen Potter skillfully pulls together, to bring her tale to a fitting end.