Book Review- Middle Grade

The Shelterlings by Sarah Beth Durst

Publication Date: June 21, 2022

Summary from NetGalley:

A group of magical misfit animals learns to appreciate their seemingly useless powers—and themselves—when they work together to thwart a villain’s attempt to steal their magic.

Holly, a grey squirrel, and her animal friends have accepted that they will never be wizards’ familiars. Though they are each magical, their powers are so offbeat—Holly herself can conjure pastries (and only pastries)—that no professional magic-worker would choose any of them as a companion for noble quests. So instead of going on adventures, they languish at the Shelter for Rejected Familiars, where they are known as “shelterlings.”

When an old friend appears with a plan for curing the shelterlings’ defective magic, everyone is on board to help him locate and retrieve the ingredients for a powerful spell. But when they learn that his offer is not what it seems, Holly and the shelterlings must fight to defend their magic, discovering in the process that their unorthodox skills may just be what is needed to save the day.

ARC provided by Clarion Books via NetGalley for an honest review.


This was such a wonderful book that I absolutely adored from the first page. I loved all of the characters and the adventure hooked me from the start. This will be an excellent book to hand any kid who love animals, adventure and magic.

Holly is a squirrel who wanted adventure and magic, but the wizards didn’t want her or her ability to summon pastries. What is wrong with these wizards? She ends up at the home for rejected familiars where she finds friendship with the other rejected animals. But soon Holly is finding out that she doesn’t need the wizards acceptance to be useful and to have adventures. The story is told from Holly’s point of view, but all of the animals have a part to play in this book.

I adored many of the animals that live with Holly, most notably Gus, the owl and Holly’s best friend. He is an owl of many talents, not just his magical ability to turn into a statue. He was also brave and funny and I just loved him. I also loved Periwinkle, the lemur who could find lost things, although she had trouble giving them back to their owners. Zaphyr the turtle who was faster and stronger than your average turtle. And finally Clover, a cow who told backwards prophecies. All of the animals where delightful and I loved reading about their different magical abilities.

The adventures that Holly and her friends, go on are quite fascinating and will keep you interested in the story. The writing style is also very engaging and at times funny. The descriptions of the places they go are well done and easily make you feel like you are right there, but hopefully there will be a map included in the final book as the layout of the land was a bit confusing.

I really hope that this is the start of series. I would very much enjoy continuing to read about these wonderful animals and their exciting adventures. It was fun to watch them all grow and learn to believe in themselves and their talents.

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