The Triumphant Tale of Pippa North
In the storybook kingdom of Wanderly, everyone wants to be a Triumphant: the kingdom’s most glorious heroes. Everyone except Pippa North, who is quite happy with her perfectly common family.
No one in Wanderly wants to be a magician, would-be villains who are nothing more than nuisances. But Oliver Dash wants it more than anything in the world.
When Pippa is swept away to the Triumphant academy, and Oliver finds himself in danger of flunking out as a magician, a wayward wish puts them on opposite ends of a villainous scheme—and plunges Pippa into an adventure that will make the whole kingdom ask what it really means to be a hero.
Full of humor, magic, and heart, this Triumphant adventure is a stand-alone companion to The Tragical Tale of Birdie Bloom, which bestselling author Liesl Shurtliff called “the most charming book, footnotes and all!”
Oliver is a magician-in-training at a school he has been at since he was a baby. However, a magician's hat must find them, and he is past the age where he should have found his hat. Therefore, it seems like he will never be a magician, and the school is ready to give up on him by expelling him. Oliver wants nothing more to find his hat and stay in the place he has always known as home.
When the two are connected, they will go on an adventure to save Wanderly that is sure to change their lives forever.
What I loved: The book is told from the perspective of a book, with plenty of humor and charm. Wanderly is filled with magic and nonsense rules that are sure to provoke some giggles. The book also speaks directly to the reader in places, which adds a little extra fun and encourages readers to find the hero within. The plot is paced well and moves fast enough to keep attention. There's great world-building for Wanderly, and this odd but interesting world comes to life through the story.
Final verdict: Full of charm and great for a middle grade audience, THE TRIUMPHANT TALE OF PIPPA NORTH encourages readers to reach for the stars and be their own heroes. Highly recommend for fans of ELLA ENCHANTED/OGRE ENCHANTED.
Pippa North never wanted to be a Triumphant and get whisked away to the Triumphant Academy. She just wanted to stay with her huge family in their cozy cottage. But when Pippa is selected to be a Triumphant, she knows there's only one way out: find a fairy godmother and get her to grant her wish to no longer be a Triumphant. While trying to find a way home, Pippa meets a Magician, Oliver, a new friend, Ernest, and together, they discover what it really means to be a hero and find the place you belong.
Temre Beltz’s voice is reminiscent of Gail Carson Levine and Shannon Hale, combining an engrossing story with heartfelt messages on finding your own path and embracing your strengths. I adored the footnotes throughout the story where the narrator speaks directly to the reader. For younger readers adjusting to the higher stakes in middle grade books (compared to chapter books), they will find comfort from the narrator as they are guided through treacherous plots.
At the heart of Pippa’s story is the message that friendship can make all the difference. When Pippa and Oliver feel isolated in their respective situations, they discover a little comradeship can do wonders, which is further emphasized in the final climax where they face the rogue Magicians. And at the end of Beltz’s novel, you shouldn’t feel surprised to find that Pippa and her crew feel like friends of your own, ready to tell you their story again when you need it.