I have a soft spot for Russian fairytales or folklore inspired books, and specially about Baba Yaga, so this book had been in my list for a while until I decided to get and I am so glad I did.
The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson
All 12-year-old Marinka wants is a friend. A real friend. Not like her house with chicken legs. Sure, the house can play games like tag and hide-and-seek, but Marinka longs for a human companion. Someone she can talk to and share secrets with.
But that’s tough when your grandmother is a Yaga, a guardian who guides the dead into the afterlife. It’s even harder when you live in a house that wanders all over the world . . . carrying you with it. Even worse, Marinka is being trained to be a Yaga. That means no school, no parties–and no playmates that stick around for more than a day.
So when Marinka stumbles across the chance to make a real friend, she breaks all the rules . . . with devastating consequences. Her beloved grandmother mysteriously disappears, and it’s up to Marinka to find her–even if it means making a dangerous journey to the afterlife.
With a mix of whimsy, humor, and adventure, this debut novel will wrap itself around your heart and never let go.
Let’s start with the fact that this book is cute, and it has illustrations inside. But it is also a book about death and dying. However, never does it feel too heavy or too difficult, it is actually very very enjoyable.
Marinka is trying to figure why she can’t have friends and she is trying to make a life for her own, fighting her “destiny” of becomings a Yaga, a guardian of the Gate. And you see her trying to make her first “living” friend, just to be soon whisked away by the house.
The House, is one of my favourite characters and definitely it has a life of it’s own (part of me wants a house with chicken legs) and that made it a great delight to read. Each character is “alive”(ok, some are dead, but let’s not go into semantics) and real, and that was lovely to read.
I absolutely loved the end of the book and it left me full of hope for Marinka’s and the other character’s future, which was a nice thing. It is definitely a lovely book, and it a lot about growing up, being yourself, finding your passion, but it is also about life and death and what you do with your life.