Effortlessly merging the gothic and ghastly with the eccentric and absurd, Hana Tooke’s mesmerising debut sends a quintet of abandoned orphans off on a caper across nineteenth-century Amsterdam.
The amazing humour and world-building of Nevermoor meets the wisdom and warmth of Rooftoppers in this completely unforgettable and totally gorgeous comedy-adventure!
In all the years that Elinora Gassbeek has been matron of the Little Tulip Orphanage, not once have the Rules for Baby Abandonment been broken. Until the autumn of 1886, when five babies are left in outrageous circumstances: one in a tin toolbox, one in a coal bucket, one in a picnic hamper, one in a wheat sack, and finally, one in a coffin-shaped basket.
Those babies were Lotta, Egg, Fenna, Sem and Milou, who were swiftly and firmly deemed 'the unadoptables'. Twelve years on the children still have each other - until the fateful night a most sinister gentleman appears and threatens to tear them apart. The gang decide to make a daring escape, fleeing the frozen canals of Amsterdam for an adventure packed with puppets and pirate ships, clock-makers and cruel villains - and with only a scrap of a clue to guide them to their mysterious new home . . .
Publisher: Penguin Random House Children's UK
Number of pages: 400
Weight: 580 g
Dimensions: 222 x 162 x 36 mm
'A compelling, gorgeously-written story about the power of friendship and the true meaning of family. It's a mystery with a hint of magic, featuring characters who feel entirely real ... perfection!' - Robin Stevens, author of the bestselling Murder Most Unladylike series
'A corker of a story. I loved the writing, the setting, the STUPENDOUS action scenes, how well-paced it was, with such drama, revelations, plot twists and the loveliest of final lines... and one of the most satisfying endings I've read in a long while, with the promise of more in the epilogue. Bravo, Hana - what a book!' - Emma Carroll, author of Letters to the Lighthouse
'I adored this story from the very first page. Sleek as Amsterdam velvet and full of heart-clutching mysteries, moonlit escapes on frozen canals, puppets with heartbeats and secret messages engraved upon pocket watches. Follow Milou and her adopted family on a glorious adventure as they race through the streets of Amsterdam, determined to fight for their freedom with spectacular wit, dazzling theatrical wonder and huge amount of hope, courage and everlasting friendship. A book to absolutely fall in love with.' - Cerrie Burnell, author of The Girl With the Shark's Teeth
'Offbeat orphans! Sinister villains! Sort of creepy life-sized puppets! In her debut middle-grade book, Hana Tooke has crafted a terrific, atmospheric story wherein five 'unadoptable' orphans, each of whom showed up in the orphanage in very unusual ways and have unique not-quite-powers, are about to be taken in by the callous Rotman for nefarious purposes and must go on the run. The Unadoptables will make you wish your own parents had loved you enough to leave you at a Dutch orphanage in the 19th century to join in their adventures. Great for readers of A Series of Unfortunate Events and the Serafina series.' - Nathan Halter, Lahaska Bookshop
'When Milou discovers the orphanage matron's plot to sell her and her friends to a nefarious figure, she hatches an escape plan. Using only the clues left with her as a baby (a coffin-shaped basket, a cat puppet, a velvet dress), Milou and her friends dive headlong into a new adventure outside the orphanage's walls. The Unadoptables has everything: evil ship captains, lifelike puppets, a charming Dutch setting complete with windmills and canals, a ragtag group of orphans looking for a family, and a mystery at the heart of it all. Perfect for reading out loud, and just the right amount of scary, this has the feel of a classic in the making.' - Bethany Strout, Tattered Cover Bookstore
'The world building in The Unadoptables was absolutely unforgettable. This book has everything you need: villians, action, comedy and adventure all rolled into one. Perfect for fans of Nevermoor and Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom.' - Robyn Broderick, The Reading Bug
'In a cold, dark, Amsterdam winter, a group of unique orphans shine brightly with hope and love. Milou and her band of talented friends set out from the Little Tulip Orphanage on a quest for freedom and family, over frozen canals to evade a despicable villain. With a little bit of spookiness and a whole lot of quirkiness, this book will capture your heart!' - Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company
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