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Book review: 'Benotripia' by 11-year-old Utah author makes for an easy, engrossing read

"BENOTRIPIA: The Rescue," by McKenzie Wagner, Cedar Fort, $8.99, 136 pages (f) (ages 7-12)

"Benotripia: The Rescue" by 11-year-old Utah native McKenzie Wagner is an easy yet engrossing read. The book tells the story of Roseabelle, a princess trying to save her mother who has been kidnapped by the Darvonians. On this quest, Roseabelle is joined by her friends, Astro and Jessicana.

During their adventure across the sea to save Roseabelle's mother, Roseabelle, Astro and Jessicana display interesting magical abilities and secrets, including dust sucking, sucking away odors in the air, and Astro’s brilliant ability to sprout immense and deadly lightning bolts from his fingertips. Each of these different revelations and events keeps the reader engrossed in Roseabelle's quest.

In places, "Benotripia: The Rescue" can be both fantastic and unusual, and a few strange creatures and talents are exhibited. Those creatures include a "moformi," a jelly monster that morphs into any shape and upon contact creates searing pain.

The way Wagner writes reminds the reader of an early Rick Riordan. She develops well-rounded characters with their histories properly painted. This characterization really adds to the enjoyment of the book and helps the story move along.

"Benotripia: The Rescue" is a good book for confident readers, perhaps for ages 7-plus, or for parents who want a book to read at bedtime to younger children.

If you go ...

What: McKenzie Wagner book signing

When: Saturday, Dec. 15, 1 p.m.

Where: Barnes and Noble, Layton, 1780 N. Woodland Park Drive, Layton


Eleven-year-old Gideon Holt is the son of James Holt, a senior lecturer in religious education at the University of Chester. James Holt's email is