Jack and Jill: Up a Hill by Vance Smith

Series: Jack and Jill #1 Rating: 3.75/5
Date of Publishing: March 15th 2018 Genre: fantasy, teen and up, YA, mystery, magic
Publisher: self published Available: Amazon
Number of pages: 157 Author’s website: http://www.ravaniaentertainment.com/

Quote of the Book

“Have you seen the driver of the other car?” he asked, jerking a thumb at the large cargo van embedded in the side of his Ferrari.
Jill shook her head.
“He’d better hope he’s unconscious.” Jack grumbled, walking around the wreck of his car to the driver’s door of the van.

Blurb

Magic is real. Her parents never bothered to tell her. 


After the death of her beloved Aunt Gloria, Jill Wright will do anything to hang on to her last memento – a golden locket. If only it were that easy.   
When a violent pickpocket becomes fixated on the trinket, it’s clear that there’s a larger plot at work.  But with her absentee parents more interested in work than family, it’s up to her to find help from an unexpected ally – even if that ally has a pumpkin for a head. 
Together with Jack Lantern, Jill must rely on her burgeoning powers to track down the shadowy group targeting her. Because the locket is only the start. They want something else from her, too. 
Something far more sinister. 

Book 1 in the Jack and Jill Trilogy 

Personal notes

I’m shining a little spotlight on this book because it was a request from a young author, local to my area.

Review

Sometimes I need something lighter to give me a break from all the weird, dark and disturbing, and what could be less weird, dark and disturbing than a fantasy series, featuring a guy with a pumpkin as his head?

Jill’s whole life is about to change when Jack Lantern comes to her rescue after she is attacked, and her locket becomes the target of a thief. Things get weirder – even weirder than discovering the world has magic, she has magic, and there are people with vegetables for heads – as she and her new friend Jack, discover a bigger plot behind the attempted theft.

This is a fun, quirky little story with a bit of a deeper “big bad” plot underneath. Though I am probably a little older than the target age – I really enjoyed it and never felt that it was too young for me plot-wise or character-wise. It’s very tame on the language and violence (though there is a death) and quite suitable for younger readers, who will appreciate the car chases, the fun magic and some of the sillier bits of humor – especially involving puns on the nursery rhyme Jack and Jill. I couldn’t help but laugh at some of them myself. As an adult I also got a kick out of the subtler bits of humor, and the nods – especially the one to Star Wars.

The two main characters are likeable and though we may not have learned everything about them, we know enough to enjoy them.

Jill is a smart girl. At 15 she’s pretty well on her own most of the time because her parents are just too busy to pay much attention to her. So, she has gotten quite good at fending for herself.

Jack is a detective. He ends up coming to Jill’s rescue and is roped into bodyguard duty when her parents hire him to keep her safe.

And there are some fun side characters to round things out.

There isn’t a lot of explanation about the magic and/or why Jack has a pumpkin for a head (or is it the other way around? He is Jack O’Lantern after all). It just is. And that was fine with me. The neat thing about magic is that it can be magical and not have to be explained and really sometimes the knowing how it works just takes the fun out of stuff.

The reveals are paced nicely – keeping those pages turning and was a strong point in the story. It’s the perfect length for what it was trying to tell and the quick pace will keep the younger readers from losing interest. There’s enough stuff hinted at and left unanswered to make me want to come back, while also wrapping up the mystery of the locket and other things that were uncovered in this story.

The book’s weakest point was editing – it really could have used an extra pass through, for some of the punctuation, spelling mistakes and wrong words, but on the whole, other than the fir for fur – most of it is minor, and not too distracting.

This was great start to what looks like is going to be a fun series.

This review was written by Jennifer (BunnyReads)

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