Tamsin, by Peter S. Beagle (3 September − 8 September)

My first book for the RIP Challenge, and a great one, at that!

Tamsin is the story of a girl called Jenny (not Jennifer) Gluckstein, who is forced to move from New York City to a farm in Dorset, England, when her mother marries an English bloke. She thinks it’s going to be really boring, but it gets pretty exciting when she discovers boggarts, ghost cats, and the titular spirit. Jenny befriends Tamsin and works to help her get free from 300 years of wandering around the farm.

The book is written from the point of view of Jenny at 19 looking back on herself at 13, so a lot of the text is riddled with “Meena told me to write this,” and “I’ll come back and fix that sentence later,” and after reading Special Topics in Calamity Physics I was feeling a little overloaded on self-aware novels.

It also takes a little while to get into the real story − there’s lots of mostly-unimportant backstory at the beginning about Jenny’s home and school life and how much she whined about moving to England − but once Beagle gets to the good part, it’s really good. I appreciated that with 30 pages left to go I had no idea how the book was going to end, and the end of the real story didn’t disappoint. There’s a bit of a where-are-they-now epilogue after that which did, but let’s ignore that, shall we?

Rating: 8/10
(RIP Challenge)