The Fearless Travelers’ Guide to Wicked Places by Pete Begler | How much weirdness is enough?

This was the first middle grade novel that I’ve read in years! I was longing for something magical and light, therefore middle grade seemed like a good choice. (Nothing is quite as good as Harry Potter though). And honestly, I had so much fun reading this! It was one of those “right place, right time” books, and should I add “right mood”?

I think there is a wide variety of very good middle grade books that are definitely worth picking up and if you are looking for something magical, very light and at some points extremely weird, this might be the book for you!


Twelve-year-old Nell Perkins knows there is magic at work that she can’t yet understand. Her mother has been taken by witches and turned into a bird.

Nell must journey to get her mother back, even if it takes her deep into the Wicked Places — the frightening realm where Nightmares resides. There she must break the spell and stop the witches from turning our world into a living nightmare.

GoodReads | Amazon

What I liked:

1 – The concept! I thought that by now (after reading million different books about magic) I’ve read all the different versions of magic and where it comes from. But! I was very very wrong! All the props go to Pete Begler for creating something absolutely unique. I don’t want to spoil things for you guys if you decide to pick this book up, and I feel that the only thing I can say is: “Your dreams and nightmares might not be exactly what you think they are!” – very intriguing, right? *pat myself on the shoulder*

2 – Whimsical and magical world, full of different creatures, events, weirdness that you can’t explain, but written seamlessly so you just go with it without trying to wrap your head around it. (Many MANY of those moments!)

What I disliked:

1 – When events happened because it was convenient for the plot but didn’t quite make any sense at all. So we all know those moments when it seems like there is no escape, the main character is in a deadly trap and only miracle will save him / her! And then by some crazy coincidence or a pure miracle help comes at the last second. We cheer, smile through happy tears and move on to the next chapter full of hope that Good will always win!

However, no matter how much of a “miracle” we are talking about here, there has  to be some sort of plausible explanation (a little tiny bit of “plausibility” is all we ask for).

2 – A slight overboard of silliness and weirdness. I know this book is for children, I know it is classified as middle grade and maybe if I would be reading it when I was 11-12 I wouldn’t have this feeling of silliness, but that is not the case, is it? So the feeling remains and I wish it would be slightly better edited? to polish these rough corners of weirdness.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐/ 5

My verdict: If you are feeling playful and childish, definitely give this book a try; if you are buying for your kids, it’s a fun book, very different from everything else I read before and I loved it for that.

Thank you NetGalley and Capstone Publisher for giving me the ARC of this book for an honest review. It in no way affected my opinion.

With Love,



5 thoughts on “The Fearless Travelers’ Guide to Wicked Places by Pete Begler | How much weirdness is enough?

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