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The Spindlers

The Spindlers

Written by Lauren Oliver

Narrated by Simon Vance


The Spindlers

Written by Lauren Oliver

Narrated by Simon Vance

ratings:
4/5 (34 ratings)
Length:
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Oct 2, 2012
ISBN:
9780062201973
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-grubbing and pancake-loving younger brother, who irritated and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not. In fact, he was quite, quite different.

When Liza's brother, Patrick, changes overnight, Liza knows exactly what has happened: The spindlers have gotten to him and stolen his soul.

She knows, too, that she is the only one who can save him.

To rescue Patrick, Liza must go Below, armed with little more than her wits and a broom. There, she uncovers a vast world populated with talking rats, music-loving moles, greedy troglods, and overexcitable nids...as well as terrible dangers. But she will face her greatest challenge at the spindlers' nests, where she encounters the evil queen and must pass a series of deadly tests — or else her soul, too, will remain Below forever.

From New York Times best-selling author Lauren Oliver comes a bewitching story about the reaches of loyalty, the meaning of love, and the enduring power of hope.

A HarperAudio production.

Publisher:
Released:
Oct 2, 2012
ISBN:
9780062201973
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Lauren Oliver is the cofounder of media and content development company Glasstown Entertainment, where she serves as the President of Production. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of the YA novels Replica, Vanishing Girls, Panic, and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem, which have been translated into more than thirty languages. The film rights to both Replica and Lauren's bestselling first novel, Before I Fall, were acquired by Awesomeness Films. Before I Fall was adapted into a major motion picture starring Zoey Deutch. It debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017, garnering a wide release from Open Road Films that year. Oliver is a 2012 E. B. White Read-Aloud Award nominee for her middle-grade novel Liesl & Po, as well as author of the middle-grade fantasy novel The Spindlers and The Curiosity House series, co-written with H.C. Chester. She has written one novel for adults, Rooms. Oliver co-founded Glasstown Entertainment with poet and author Lexa Hillyer. Since 2010, the company has developed and sold more than fifty-five novels for adults, young adults, and middle-grade readers. Some of its recent titles include the New York Times bestseller Everless, by Sara Holland; the critically acclaimed Bonfire, authored by the actress Krysten Ritter; and The Hunger by Alma Katsu, which received multiple starred reviews and was praised by Stephen King as “disturbing, hard to put down” and “not recommended…after dark.” Oliver is a narrative consultant for Illumination Entertainment and is writing features and TV shows for a number of production companies and studios. Oliver received an academic scholarship to the University of Chicago, where she was elected Phi Beta Kappa. She received a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from New York University. www.laurenoliverbooks.com.

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What people think about The Spindlers

3.9
34 ratings / 32 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    Lauren Oliver debuted in 2010 with Before I Fall, and The Spindlers is her fifth published work, not counting novellas. Her sixth, Requiem, the conclusion to the Delirium trilogy comes out early next year. Simply put, she has blasted into popularity, prolific and talented, to become one of the most loved and admired YA/MG authors. Of the three books of hers I've read, The Spindlers was my least favorite, but still contained some of the wonderful bits that make Oliver's work such a joy to devour.

    In The Spindlers, Lauren Oliver tackles a pretty standard fairy tale plot: the child whose sibling has been replaced with a changeling and the resulting quest bent on rescue. Liza wakes up to find her brother not himself. He looks the same and he has a lot of the same behaviors, but he is both too nice (perfect table manners and politeness) and too mean (spelling out 'I HATE YOU' to his sister in his alphabet cereal). Liza immediately knows what has happened to him: the Spindlers, spider creatures, have taken his soul, and, should it not be replaced soon, the shell of his body will turn into dust.

    As is common in middle grade books, only Liza can save her brother from this tragic fate. Her parents refuse to believe her assertions that something is wrong with Patrick and tell her to grow up, now too old for stories. Unwilling to allow her brother to die, Liza determines to go look for him herself, so she goes down to the basement and into the crawl space. Once there, she falls into a deep hole.

    It turns out the crawl space in her house connects to the Below, a world populated by the magical creatures her favorite babysitter, Anna, always told her about. She immediately gains a companion in the form of Mirabella, a rat who imitates humans. Mirabella also happens to be in possession of a number of articles stolen from her family. I'm glad to know that all of the things I can't find were not in fact lost through my carelessness but swiped by troglods.

    Mirabella creeps me out a lot. Now, it's not because she's a rat. I know rats can be alright. One of my best friends in college had three rats senior year, and they were friendly creatures. Mirabella, though, sounds every kind of unpleasant. For one thing, she's person-sized. She wears clothing and a matted wig. She smells like a sewer, but covers her face in powder and mascara in an attempt to meet human standards of beauty. Basically, she will probably haunt the dreams of some. Call me vain, but I could not get past my immense distaste for Mirabella.

    Liza's journey reminded me of any number of books. There was little I found especially original about this tale, except for the nocturni, which were really cool. Otherwise, the monsters, while new to me in name, fit classic molds. Still, I suspect the array of creatures will delight and terrify younger readers as they are intended to do. What Lauren Oliver brings to the story is her way with words. She has a glorious way of writing, one that I think will hold a lot of appeal for children, who also often like stories to follow familiar paths more than I do.

    For fans of books like Gregor the Overlander or Coraline, The Spindlers will be a delight.

    Read more of my reviews at A Reader of Fictions.
  • (5/5)
    I'm in love with Lauren Oliver's writing, and to be honest all I've read so far are her Middle Grade novels. If they are at all indicative of her overall writing style, I'm sold. Head over heels in love. Even as an adult reader The Spindlers captured my heart and mind. You couldn't have pried this book out of my hands.

    Liza is our main character and I adored her from page one.Strong, stubborn, and braver than most young girls I know, she was a wonderful character to follow. Her belief in magic was sweet, and the relationship that she had with her brother Patrick was even sweeter. We all know that siblings bicker. That you can love the stuffing out of your younger brother or sister and still thing they are utterly obnoxious at times. I loved the reality of Liza's relationship with Patrick for that very reason. She knows what drives her crazy about him, and yet she sets it all aside to save him when he needs it.

    What really sparked my imagination was the world that Oliver builds in the "Below". Liza must face some rather terrifying events and inhabitants to save her sibling. I loved how they were just the right amount of scary, without being too over the top. Also, they are offset by the cunning that Liza must use to solve puzzles in her quest as well. There was such a nice mix of trials for her to pass that, despite being an older reader, I found myself entranced by her journey. It reminded me slightly of Alice in Wonderland. A girl who is young and on her own, and yet does great things.

    The Spindlers deals with sibling relationships, friendship, and finding courage within. Best of all, it does it in a format that is friendly to young readers. If you have a reader at home who loves adventures, or who believes in magic, this is a book for them. Actually, even if you are adult and have these same qualities, you'll love this book! I did, and I can't wait for more from Lauren Oliver.
  • (2/5)
    The Spindlers remind me of Alice in Wonderland. *rolls eyes* I'm too oblivious for my own good. I should have known after that 20%. >_< not like I don't like Alice in Wonderland... But really... It'll definitely remind you of that one. Even though you don't want to.

    And actually, it's like a compilation of children books. I know I read somewhere or seen somewhere about a troll who would give you a riddle first before you could cross the bridge. As you read the book, you'll definitely be reminded of some other children's story books.

    I really like Lauren Oliver, love her Dystopian books, Delirium and Pandemonium... But this is uh, okay. Just that. Yes, she introduced new kind of things. Like the Spindler, Nocturni (Although I keep on thinking about where did I hear it first), Scawgs, etc. But the whole save my brother thing would also reminds you of Megan saving Ethan of the series The Iron King.

    Why Alice in Wonderland? Remember that Alice kind of uh, dropped or went to the Wonderland? It's almost similar there (should've known from the start) when Liza got dropped from their house's basement and met the rat, Mirabella. Then the rat help her to reach the Spindler's nest to save her brother cause they (Spindlers) took him and replace him with a, uh, what do you call it again? Ah, thanks to Wikipedia, a CHANGELING of sorts. See what I mean about The Iron King?

    But in fairness, the way the story was written was good. Lauren Oliver is a very good story teller. I believe the book would be enjoyed by lots of children too. And maybe if they haven't read Alice in Wonderland yet. LOL. :P Definitely a must read for children though.

    P.S. I so love the Nocturni. They are sooooo cool.
  • (4/5)
    Amazing. I can’t even describe how much I liked it.
  • (5/5)
    This was a great and imaginative story! So many great creatures and characters woven in this magical world, it was hard to put the book down.I liked the way Lauren shaped Liza. She was a fearless, smart and highly independent character. The best part is, the end was open enough if Lauren chose to write some more, she could. (I hope she does.) It was something at the end that had my hopes going for more, but I can't share it with you. You have to read it.Kids 8-12 will love this book. Best part is, some parents, like me, will love this story too. It is a great teaching of not giving up, being brave, and always listening to the good not the bad. A little gem of a book, and one I am happy is in my collection.
  • (5/5)
    Another fabulous book by Lauren Oliver. I cut it down by half a star because the concept with this one is not as original as "Lisel and Po". It's the old baby brother kidnapped by wicked creatures and older sister has to go to a fantasy world to rescue him plot. BUT no one could have done that plot better than Oliver. She's got lots of wonderful and strange original creatures that we meet along the way, and also a lovely friendship story woven in. And the writing is beautiful.
  • (4/5)
    Accompanied by an eccentric, human-sized rat, Liza embarks on a perilous quest through an underground realm to save her brother Patrick, whose soul has been stolen by the evilest of creatures--the spider-like spindlers.
  • (5/5)
    This book contains a great story for the young and old alike! It holds your attention throughout the length of the book.
  • (4/5)
    i liked the simplicity of the story. from the very outset Liza comes alive and has a real mission on her hands.

    from the moment she picks up the broom until she lays down again in bed the story is fast paced.

    the characters she meets along the way are diverse and quite cute and horrible all in one.

    i read it in 2 days. and it was worth the time. there are twists and turns and i would read it again and again.



  • (5/5)
    I got an eGalley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I loved Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver and was very excited to read The Spindlers. The Spindlers was even better than Liesel and Po, it was just fantastic. It was a very engaging and super imaginative story that reminded a little bit of Gaiman’s Neverwhere and a bit of Alice in Wonderland.When Liza wakes up one morning her brother, Patrick has changed into something...not Patrick. He is something evil and strange. That’s when Liza realizes that the Spindlers have taken his soul and it is up to her to journey deep into Below to rescue him.This was a wildly creative and fun quest-based adventure fantasy story. Liza runs into a number of fantastical characters and journeys through a creative and breathtaking underground landscape. She also has to solve numerous puzzles on the way. Her dedication to finding her brother and her steadfast bravery (in spite of being quite afraid at times) is admirable. Liza is joined in her quest to find the Spindlers by a giant rat named Mirabella who talks and loves to wear pretty clothing. As Liza and Mirabella travel towards the Spindlers through one danger after another they develop a tentative friendship. It is a friendship which is sorely tested by some of the twists and turns the story takes towards the end.The illustrations are few (in the ARC) but beautifully done and really convey the feeling of the story very well. The description throughout really makes the crazy settings Liza travels through come alive.This book might be a little creepy or scary for young kids because it is a pretty dark tale. As mentioned above it reminded me of a cross between Gaiman's Neverwhere and Alice in Wonderland...maybe with a little Labyrinth in there as well. This is a book that would make a fantastic movie.Overall I really loved this book. It was creative, had wonderfully descriptive writing, a spunky and heartfelt heroine, and a wonderful fantasy adventure. It is a book that people of all ages can enjoy. I highly recommend to those who love fantasy adventure stories.
  • (3/5)
    Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.Quick & Dirty: Very cute middle-grade fantasy with a fun story, good adventure and interesting characters.Opening Sentence: One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-grubbing and pancake- loving younger brother, who irritated her and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not.The Review: Liza loves her younger brother Patrick even though most of the time he is a pain. He is her playmate and best friend. One morning they wake up and Patrick is different. He isn’t his usual annoying self and right away Liza knows that something is wrong. Before their long time babysitter Anna went off to college she told Liza about the evil Spindlers and how they can steal your soul. She instantly knows this is what happened to Patrick. Liza tries to inform her parents but of course they don’t believe her, so it is up to her to try and save Patrick before it is too late, and the Spindlers eat his soul.Liza has to travel to the Below. She sets on her journey and finds a door in her basement that leads to the wondrous Below. She soon befriends a giant fashionable rat named Mirabella who agrees to help guide her to the Spindlers. As they travel through the Below they meet many different and interesting creatures along the way. She has some close encounters, and at times she doubts that she will even make it to the nest to rescue Patrick. With wit and a little luck she finally makes it to the nest, but once there she has to face the evil Spindlers Queen. She only has one shot to save Patrick and herself from staying with the Spindlers forever.I thought that Liza was a cute character. She really loves her little brother even though he can be a pain, and she is willing to risk her life to save him. There were times when she did irritate me a little, but to be honest I think it was just because she was so young. This book is defiantly set for a younger audience and while I don’t mind reading these I tend to not connect with the characters quite as much. That being said I think that a younger crowd will love Liza and connect with her much better than I did.Overall, I thought that this book was a fun read. The adventure was really fun, the worldbuilding was fascinating, and it was a really fast read. I have always loved Lauren Oliver’s writing and this book is no exception, she really did a wonderful job. Oliver is very descriptive in her writing and I loved the world she created. The plot flowed really well and while it was predictable it was also really fun. I would highly recommend this to anyone that likes MG Fantasy, especially the age group it was written for. I think this book would be a wonderful introduction into the world of reading for younger children.Notable Scene:The nids filed into the stone seats that encircled the court, buzzing and chattering excitedly. Almost as soon as the nids were seated, the mole cried out, “All arise for the Honorable Judge Gobbington IV!” Instantly there was a general shuffling and rustling, and murmurs of excitement, as the nids climbed to their feet.Liza stood along with everybody else. Mirabella was practically white with fear, and Liza’s throat was dry and chalky, as though she had inhaled sawdust.She heard a scuffling sound, the noise of slapping footsteps along the dark, dank hall through which the mole had led them, then a dry, rattling cough. Finally the judge stepped into the amphitheater.At least, Liza thought he must be the judge. He certainly looked wise. Although he was probably no taller than she, his head was at least four times the size of hers and incredibly wrinkled, like an enormous, shriveled pea. His face, in contrast, seemed ridiculously small: just a bare twig of a nose, and two squinty eyes, and a pinched mouth floating in the middle of that humongous head. Liza felt the wild urge to laugh, as she did sometimes when she got very nervous, and fought desperately to quell it.Judge Gobbington IV had a large gavel tucked under one arm. He was wearing thick glasses and an elaborate black gown that reached almost all the way to the ground. His bare feet protruded from underneath its hem, however, and Liza saw that they were large and slightly webbed, like a duck’s. When he walked, his feet made a wet, slapping sound against the stone.FTC Advisory: HarperCollins provided me with a copy of The Spindlers. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
  • (4/5)
    the fun adventure book lifted me up and under ground with Liza. If you want a fun scary eire familylike book read THE SPINDLERS
  • (4/5)
    When Liza's brother's soul is stolen by the Spindlers, evil spider-like creatures who live Below, Liza knows that she is the only one who can save him. Armed with only a broom, she crawls through a hole in her basement wall and finds herself in an underground world populated by various magical creatures. She is immediately befriended by Mirabella, a rat who is trying desperately to look human, and who promises to lead her to the Spindlers' lair. Liza must face many dangers in order to rescue her brother's soul and escape back to her own world.This book is fairly strong on writing, but rather weak in plot and creativity. There are just a lot of juvenile fantasy books out there about the quest to save a missing/stolen/trapped sibling, and a book has to be truly unique to rise above the herd. This one will be enjoyable enough for young readers, with their fresh outlook and ravenous appetite for anything in the genres they enjoy, but it left me feeling like a jaded grown-up reader who needs to take a little break from this type of story before trying again.
  • (4/5)
    Very creative middle grade book about a girl who goes to an underground world to search for her brother's soul. Her parents believe she's making up stories when she insists that his soul has been taken by Spindlers, creatures from the underground who steal and eat souls and leave an empty person behind. She encounters many, many strange and creepy creatures and is guided to the home of the spindlers by a revolting make-up and clothes wearing rat.
  • (5/5)
    If one thinks there is a lack of imagination in the world, one need look only as far as Lauren Oliver's The Spindlers. It is full of wonderful imaginary characters (or are they imaginary?). Everyone knows that the spindlers come at night and steal children's souls, replacing them with spindler eggs so that more spindlers can be born. When Liza wakes up one morning and her brother Patrick isn't really Patrick anymore, with his glassy eyes and lack of emotion, she is panic-stricken. While brothers and sisters have their ups and downs, generally they do love each other.Of course her mother sadly thinks she's making up yet another story, but Liza knows she must rescue Patrick's soul before it's too late. She ventures into the basement, with a broom as her only weapon, moves a bookcase covering a hole in the wall and enters the Below.The first thing she meets is a rat almost her size named Mirabella. Mirabella is wearing a newspaper skirt, a hideous wig, a hat and enough makeup and mascara to scare anyone...including Liza. This is the delicious beginning of a dangerous journey the two take to reach the spindler's nest, meeting along the way troglods, nids, lumer-lumpens, nocturni and more.These days, when kids grow up too fast, when they are bombarded at a young age with activities that will get them into a good college, a good dose of fun and fantasy is the prescription for bringing back childhood. (It even works for adults who have forgotten the wonders of childhood.) Lauren Oliver has supplied a goodly dose of adventure. I was with Mirabella and Liza every minute of their journey, beside them on the dangerous River of Knowledge, there when Liza had to outsmart a three headed dog, there in the troglod market. Knowing in my heart that Liza would save Patrick's soul, I couldn't wait to get to the next adventure, to get that much closer to what I knew to be a satisfying ending.We all know that Lauren Oliver is a talented writer. She writes in multiple genres for middle schoolers and high shcoolers. Liesl & Po is another wonderful fantasy book of hers. So, if you're looking for something wonderful for your child to read OR you yourself want something wonderful to read, pick up The Spindlers and Liesl & Po. It is imagination at its best.
  • (2/5)
    Though it pains me to admit it, I didn't find a lot to love about Lauren Oliver's The Spindlers. I've read a couple of her YA novels and loved them both (Before I Fall is an absolute favorite!), but I found this middle grade offering sadly lacking.I love the description of this novel, but, after reading it, I don't find it particularly fitting to the text itself. It isn't the content itself that isn't fitting, but the fact that the summary makes the The Spindlers sound much more exciting than it actually is. First off, the summary mentions literally everything readers will find within the covers of the novel - where's the fun in that!? Secondly, the "evil queen" and her "series of deadly tests" are mentioned and made to sound, in addition to sinister, pretty darn exciting. Alas, this didn't turn out to be true. Yes, this novel is clearly intended for a middle grade audience, but I found myself entirely too bored as Liza encountered, and easily defeated, each obstacle that stood between herself and her brother, and I can't help but worry the intended audience will feel the same. I felt like the novel was good start, but that much more could have been added. It almost felt like it was too tame... I just wanted more.Though I did find some of the inhabitants of Below rather interesting, I was unfavorably distracted by the rat that serves as Liza guide on her quest to rescue Patrick. This rat tries very hard to be human-like, as this is what she regards as attractive, but Liza is constantly thinking of how horrible the creature looks. In the end, the rat embraces her natural form and sheds her makeup and clothes, prompting Liza to remark on how great she looks. I assume this character's purpose is to send the message that being natural and true to yourself is beautiful, but I wasn't a fan of how the message was executed. Liza's frequent negative remarks were off-putting and sometimes felt like she was being a bit of mean.The Spindlers wasn't my favorite middle grade novel, but it definitely won't stop me from reading more YA and MG offerings from Lauren Oliver. I had some definite issues with this particular book, but Oliver is a strong writer and it's entirely possible this one just wasn't for me.
  • (4/5)
    Liza woke up one morning and discovered that her brother Patrick was no longer himself. He looked the same, had the same memories, and to everyone else seems the same, but something is definitely off with him. Liza is the only one who realizes the Spindlers have taken his soul and put one of their own in his place. To save Patrick's soul, Liza takes a broom (because Spindlers are afraid of them) and goes Below, a world beyond her own full of magical creatures, talking rats, glow worms that light her way, and all manner of dangers. She must face the evil Spindlers with her own intelligence and wit as her only weapons. Will she be able to escape alive and save her brother?The Spindlers is a fun adventure complete with danger, darkness, and wonder. I adore Below, the underground world Lauren Oliver has created. It's just the right ratio of beautiful, strange, and scary. My favorite parts are the troglod market, the nocturni, and the lumpen. The troglod market links Below with the regular world. The troglods, little gnome-like creatures, steal things from humans and sell them in their market in exchange for random pieces of paper whose value is determined by the color. This reminds me of The Borrowers and pokes a little bit of fun at the money we put so much value on, which is just really bits of colored paper. The nocturni are my favorite part of the book. They are creatures that are a cross between hummingbirds and butterflies made of darkness and air. They bring dreams to only one person forever and are rumored to bring souls to the afterlife. These benevolent creatures are integral to the story, fascinating, and, as far as I know, an original creation. The lumpen are glowworms that light the way in the Below, but are very sensitive creatures that won't illuminate if annoyed or insulted. These are my favorite parts of the world, but the entirety of it is very visual and vibrant.Liza is pretty awesome. Her adventurous spirit is infectious and makes me excited to see where she will venture and how she will get out of danger. Her unwavering loyalty is touching and you can really see how much she cares for her brother, even though they fight and annoy each other all the time. She even cares a lot for her family even though they want her to stop bothering them with her "imagination" and generally leave her alone. I loved Liza leading me through her adventures and found her very memorable, intelligent, and inspiring. I liked the thoughtful and determined way she got through every obstacle in her way to get to her brother.I greatly enjoyed Lauren Oliver's The Spindlers. I found Liesl and Po to be much better because it dealt with real life, significant issues like death, but The Spindlers is still a great adventure story with twists, turns, and a delightful new world.
  • (4/5)
    For those kids who like GREGOR THE OVERLANDER this is an excellent recommendation. Liza and her brother, Patrick, have been warned about the Spindlers, who steal the souls of people. When Patrick's soul is taken, Lisa must go underground to save him. Just as Gregor discovers the friendship of creatures humans see as horrid, Lisa is befriended by a rat. GOod fantasy for middle grade readers.
  • (3/5)
    Liza and her brother Patrick have been warned of the Spindlers - underground creatures who will steal your soul while you sleep. One night, Patrick's soul is taken and Liza must venture below to get it back. On her journeys she befriends a rat and does her best to fight the battles she is faced with. With time running short (the soul feast begins at midnight) Liza must use her wits and her bravery to recover her brother before its too late. Very twisted story and quite creepy when you think about it, but a good fantasy read for those who enjoyed books such as Spiderwick Chronicles or Fablehaven (it's just a little darker than both of those, though).
  • (3/5)
    I can see two potential audiences for this book: younger readers who are actually looking for a Middle Grade book, and older readers who have enjoyed Oliver’s other work. I fall into the latter category: I loved Before I Fall, so I wanted to see what else this author could do.The Spindlers read to me like a fairly typical fantasy adventure story. Liza realizes that her brother’s soul has been stolen by Spindlers, so she sets out into the world Below to get it back. While there, she meets all sorts of odd and interesting creatures, including a giant rat named Mirabella.These straightforward adventures didn’t appeal as much to me as an adult reader, though I do think that children would enjoy them. I was more interested in the character development that took place over the course of the story. At this point, I think a spoiler warning is in order; don’t read on if you don’t want to know what happens.Minor Spoilers:Liza sort of befriends the giant rat that I mentioned earlier, in that she asks the rat to take her to the Spindlers’ nest, which involves an extremely dangerous journey. She doesn’t seem very appreciative of the sacrifice and personal risk that are involved in this, and mostly thinks about how strange Mirabella looks, or how bad her fur/breath smells, and other similarly superficial things. It’s only when Mirabella saves her from drowning that she decides that they’re friends—although she still struggles with the declaration, and although Mirabella has already saved her on previous occasions.Major Spoilers:So it’s a big plot twist when Mirabella betrays her, and it turns out that the rat was working for the Spindlers all along. But this twist would have been a lot more shocking if Liza had actually treated the rat well throughout the course of their journey, and offered something in return for everything that Mirabella was giving her. Since Liza mostly just expected people to help her without showing them any respect, I almost felt like she deserved the betrayal. I’m not sure that this is what I was supposed to think.Major Spoilers continue:Of course, it all works out well in the end. At the time of the betrayal, Liza proclaims how shocked she is, how she thought the rat was her friend and would have given to the rat in friendship anything that the Spindlers had given to her as payment. And the rat regrets the betrayal, and comes back and saves everyone. That’s all good: we get the standard lessson about the importance and power of friendship. But I felt like it was tainted a bit by the way we arrived there. Friendship only begins when someone dramatically saves your life; just going out of your way to help someone at great risk to yourself isn’t enough to earn a friend; appearances are more important. I don’t think these are the messages that Oliver was intending to get across, but they’re the ones that the thoughts and behaviour of the protagonist reveal.No Spoilers:I loved the protagonist in other ways. For one thing, she’s fiercely determined to save her brother no matter what. But the portrayal of friendship and non-friendship in the book just rubbed me the wrong way, and diminished my appreciation of the whole. If you’re just looking for a straightforward adventure story, this may not be a problem; Liza does have plenty of interesting adventures. But if you’re looking for a story that’s deeply satisfying at all levels, you may want to look elsewhere.
  • (4/5)
    I totally enjoyed this kids' fantasy novel about Liza who goes Below to find the soul of her little brother Patrick which has been stolen by the very evil spindlers...spiderific beings with human eyes and human hands attached to each of their six legs. Mirabella, the glam girl rat, was probably my favorite character. A perfect novel for parents to read aloud to their kids. Lauren Oliver certainly knows how to blend fantasy, humor and suspense in this fine story.
  • (3/5)
    Summary: When Liza wakes up one morning, her brother Patrick is gone. Physically, he's still there at the breakfast table, but Liza knows that his soul is gone, stolen by the Spindlers, evil spider-like creatures that come in the night and take souls to their lair Below. Liza's parents of course don't believe her, so she must set out to save Patrick's soul before it's too late. The world Below is full of dangers, and even with the help of a giant talking rat named Mirabella, Liza may not be able to reach the realm of the Spindlers before it's too late for Patrick.Review: In general, I've been having a better-than-usual time with mid-grade fantasy adventure stories recently, but unfortunately, The Spindlers didn't quite make the cut. It's a fun adventure story, for sure, well-written with well-built and original characters, and some sufficiently creepy bad guys. I've got no doubt that kids in the intended age range (maybe 9-10?) would enjoy the heck out of it. However, it was lacking that little something extra to make it engaging for older audiences as well.To start with, the plot structure felt like something I'd read many times before. It's pretty standard fantasy adventure quest, reminding me pretty strongly of Gregor the Overlander (the subterranean setting, sibling-saving plot, and giant talking animals make that comparison pretty inevitable), but also reminding variously of The Odyssey, the movie Labyrinth, and the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The heroine has to face a bunch of challenges and trials and prove their wits and bravery and steadfastness, etc; which meant that a lot (all?) of the plot points were pretty predictable. I also got rather tired of the episodic nature of the story, as Liza faces challenge after challenge. I realize that's in the nature of this type of story, but in this case, I couldn't see anything bigger binding all of the pieces together. Eventually it started to feel like a Creature Feature, like the entire point was to see how many beasties Oliver could come up with. This may be a point where the audiobook production (which was otherwise very good) lets the story down; maybe if I'd have had the illustrations I would have been more inclined to roll with the story rather than looking for some overarching theme or additional layers. So, between knowing well ahead of time how the story was going to pan out, and the lack of any deeper or more complex story elements, I found this story unobjectionable, but also not particularly engaging or all that memorable. 2.5 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: I would have no problem handing this to a mid-grade reader; it's fun and tells a good story with an interesting sibling dynamic, and I think a lot of kids would really enjoy it. However, for older readers interested in mid-grade fantasy, I'd recommend picking up Gregor the Overlander instead, for a (very) similar adventure story but with a bit more complexity and nuance.
  • (4/5)
    Liza is the only one who realizes her brother Patrick's soul has been stolen by wicked Spindlers, spider-ish creatures who live Below. Liza slips through a secret hole in the wall in her family's basement to search for her brother. She befriends a giant rat, Mirabella, who agrees to take her to the Spindlers.Action. Adventure. Humor. Wit. This story has it all. You will love it, middle-grade readers.
  • (4/5)
    Liza knows that her brother, Patrick, isn’t really her brother. One night they went to bed, and the next morning when she woke up, she noticed something was off. He was acting a little too perfect, and his eyes looked vacant. Liza knows that the Spindlers have taken his soul, and if she doesn’t get it back, she may lose him forever.One night after her parents have gone to bed, Liza ventures down to the basement, through a hole in the wall and tumbles into a mysterious land filled with large rats, magical glow worms and other mysterious creatures. With the help of a slightly crazy rat named Mirabelle, Liza will make her way through the mysterious Below to face the Spindlers before Patrick’s soul is lost forever.I’m a huge fan of Lauren Oliver’s. I love the Delirium trilogy, and Liesl and Po stuck with me for days after I finished reading it. The Spindlers is very entertaining, but I didn’t feel that it quite lived up to Liesl and Po. Don’t get me wrong, the story is very creative and the cast of characters is very entertaining, it just didn’t have the emotional punch I have come to expect from Ms. Oliver. While Liesl and Po was a timeless tale that pretty much anyone could relate to, I felt that The Spindlers, while entertaining, is better suited for a younger age group. This makes sense, I mean, it is a Middle Grade book, and I think readers in the 8 – 10 age range will enjoy it very much.Liza is a tough and lovable protagonist — one that many young girls will relate to. Mirabelle adds a nice bit of quirky comic relief and the creatures Liza meets Below are equally fascinating and creepy. The one thing that I wished there had been a little more of was a better description of what it looked like Below. I know it was dark and dank, but I would have liked a little more description.Still, this is a fun adventure story about strength, family and determination that shouldn’t be missed by young readers.
  • (4/5)
    Disclaimer - I received this book through the user giveaway program. I received the book in exchange for agreeing to review it.As an adult, I found "The Spindlers" to be a retelling of a story I had read before. Yes, it was a lot like "Coraline," or "Wee Free Men," or even the movie "Labyrinth." Because I am an adult, I am familiar with the shape of this story, and could easily predict where it was going.The reason I enjoyed this book was because it was a very, very effective retelling of this story shape, and one that I believe young readers will find quite enthralling. The characters are well written, and although they are drawn simply they do not fall into stereotype. The plot is as episodic as you might expect any journey story of this type to be, but each episode serves a purpose in the overall story and comes together in a fulfilling way.I would give this book to my son or daughter to read without hesitation.
  • (2/5)
    I've enjoyed Lauren Oliver's writing for quite some time now - picking up every book from her first until this last one... but The Spindlers didn't just disappoint me, it made me angry.If you are at all familiar with Suzanne Gregory's Gregor the Overlander series, then this book will have many familiar themes. A stolen away sibling, a journey underground, a quest of retrieval, magical, mystical creatures. In fact, the resemblance was so strong I set the book down more than once and had to go elsewhere to clear my head because I was predicting where the story was going based on another story line from another author (and sadly, it still wasn't all that different).I loved the Gregor series - but the idea there was such a unique one that I really struggled in trying to give The Spindlers a place in that same arena without just blatantly comparing and contrasting the two. Usually when one book resembles another in some way, I use that resemblance to justify recommending the book - but in this case I think that resemblance is more of a hindrance than a help.
  • (4/5)
    What a delightful story. Reminds me a little of Alice in Wonderland except instead of a Rabbit Liza finds a Rat who has taken her dad's reading glasses, her brother Patricks socks and baseball and her math homework. Patrick has been taken by the Spindlers, not quite spiders as these have human hands at the end of their legs and only 2 eyes. Even though Liza is scared she will do anything to get Patrick back. Follow her on her journey down in the dark to rescue Patrick. I won this from LibraryThing Member Giveaways and I recommend this book.
  • (5/5)
    Liza wakes up one day to discover that her younger brother is acting strange. Remembering a story told to her by her babysitter she believes that the Spindlers have stolen his sole. With this knowledge Liza knows she must act quickly to save her brothers soul from the Spindlers. Liza travels to Below and with her guide Mirabella she sets of on a quest to find the Spindlers. This was a well written and entertaining story written for middle school age kids. The story was captivating and flowed nicely with a good mix of suspense, and fantasy. Development of friendships, betrayl and fighting for what is important to you are also some key features of this story.
  • (5/5)
    The Good Stuff •Absolutely positively delightful -- where were books like this when I was in grade 3? •Reminded me of those wonderful adventure stories like Alice in Wonderland, Spiderwick Chronicles, The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe •Wonderfully created world - Oliver you are bloody brilliant when it comes to creating new and fantastical worlds •Such wonderful commentary on the importance of hope, love and loyalty. Done in such a masterful, simple and never talking down way •Fast paced and never boring - quite frankly never said that before about a middle school book •You gotta love Liza - such a strong, yet realistic, kick butt heroine •Liza fights against what is easy to do what is right - such a fabulous role model The Not So Good Stuff •a wee bit of repetition •For older readers it is a tad predictable Favorite Quotes/Passages"That was the problem with grown-ups; they told you not to lie, and then got angry when you told the truth! And it was Liza who was punished, because the rest of the world was blind.""And is it natural," the rat thundered, quivering with rage, "for some to be cuddled and coddled and hugged, while others are hated and hunted and hurt, because of differences in fur, and tail, and whisker length? I ask you -is that natural?""This was exactly how things were Above: There were rules, but nobody told you about them, and you were somehow expected to know them anyway, and punished when you didn't"Who Should/Shouldn't Read •Will be recommending this to each and every 8 - 12 yr old girl that comes into my Chapters •Thank goodness I have 2 copies (Thanks sweet Teri) I have passed on this copy to my new neighbors daughter - she is going to love this •Librarians - this book is perfect for that girl -- you know the one -- who loves to lose herself in a good story 4.5 Dewey'sI received a copy of this at Book Expo America &amp; sweet Teri gave me a signed copy
  • (4/5)
    In short: Lauren Oliver has written another truly lovely and whimsical Middle Grade novel that can be enjoyed by all age groups.After reading and loving Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver, I knew I needed to read The Spindlers, Lauren Oliver's second Middle Grade novel. Liesl and Po was a wonderful and whimsical story filled with cartoonish and memorable characters, and The Spindlers was no different. When Liza's brother's soul is stolen by the Spindlers, she goes Below to rescue it. Bold and brave, Liza comes up against some tricky tasks that she must solve along the way as well as some truly imaginative and quirky creatures and settings, all beautifully described with Lauren Oliver's signature fantastical prose.If I had any critique for The Spindlers, it's that it was very reminiscent of other works, particularly Coraline by Neil Gaiman, but also Roald Dahl novels and Hayao Miyazaki films. It had so many of the same elements of these other works that at times, The Spindlers came across as cliched and predictable. I don't actually mind it when authors turn to these well known story arcs because they are beloved for a reason, but ideally I'd like to see said author present something new and original to set it apart from the masses and I'm not sure Lauren Oliver accomplishes that with The Spindlers.BUT - and I would like to stress this - please don't take that one critique as an indication that I didn't enjoy The Spindlers. I loved The Spindlers. Really. It was just as lovely and wonderful as I have come to expect from all of Lauren Oliver's novels. And perhaps it's a bit unfair to call it predictable when I am an adult and this book is meant for children who probably wouldn't see it as being cliched at all. So I would definitely recommend The Spindlers for the age group that it is meant for. And I would absolutely recommend it for older audiences who love quirky and fantastical MG reads, as well.