Book Review: The Ugly Teapot by Fred Holmes

*I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

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Goodreads blurb:
Fourteen-year-old Hannah Bradbury loved her father so much that she worried about him constantly. After all, he was a photographer who traveled to the most dangerous places in the world.

To allay her fears, each time he came home he brought her silly gifts, each one with supposed magical powers: the Seal of Solomon, the Ring of Gyges, even Aladdin’s Lamp. It was that lamp Hannah found the most unbelievable, for it looked like an ugly teapot. Nevertheless, her father assured her it was real, and made her promise to save her three wishes for something very special.

Then . . . six months later . . . the unthinkable happened. Her father was killed while on assignment to Baghdad. And so on the day of his funeral Hannah did something she never thought she would ever do.

She took out that teapot and gave it a rub . . .

First line: “Hannah Bradbury opened her eyes, feeling forty, not fourteen.”

Title: The Ugly Teapot, book one: Hannah
Author: Fred Holmes
My Edition: An eBook with 320 pages (This changes, but Goodread says 205), published in 2016
Age: Middle Grade, I would say anything from 7 and up.
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Magic

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Normally I’m a little scared to accept books for reviewing, because I’m so incredibly scared I’m going to hurt someone’s feelings, someone being the author. But, this time, when I read the plot I just really wanted to give it a try, middle grade books are always easy to read and I often find myself having a really good reading experience with Middle Grade books, and this was just magical.

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The plot is so interesting! I’ve always liked the story of Aladdin, and how it seemed so mysterious because it all happened “so far away”. I guess when your whole idea of the world is through Disney at a young age, the world seems so small! Anyways, the plot is about Hannah, who’s this incredibly smart 14-year-old with the mind of an adult. She loses her father in Bagdad when he’s there for work, and suddenly her whole world seems so wrong and out of place. Every time her father would come home from travels, he would bring home magical items that he would give to her, it could be in the form of literately anything, but the one thing that Hannah suddenly remembers (because her dog Griff reminds her of it) is the ugly teapot said to be the lamp of Aladdin.

Her father told her to save her wishes for something very special, and since her father is the most special thing in the world, well, you can tell the outcome, she wishes her father back to life, and then, everything changes!

I loved the plot, it’s so easy to relate to. I think that we all know someone, or have been in Hannah shoes ourselves, when you would do close to everything to bring someone back into your life. It’s as simple as that. Of course there are some other things that happens,  but I’m not going to go into detail because I want to save the details for when you read the book, but let me just tell you that the plot is like an adventure, and then it goes BAM and you don’t know what hit you!

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The writing is simple and easy and everything I would have expected in a Middle Grade book. Sometimes, when a book is in English, which is not my mother tongue, I have to google some words in order to understand, but this book has so simple language making it super-easy to read. I could lie awake for hours just devouring every word in this book, not having to find out if I just understood that sentence right. And that is the magic of this book, it suits everyone. The writing is simple enough for a child to enjoy, but complex enough for me, at the age of 22, to love!

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Hannah is the average 14-year-old I would say, all though I don’t know many 14-year-olds, I’ve been one myself. She seems like a caring and loving girl, who loves her family. She’s lucky enough to have two brothers (I never got any siblings before I was 14), and it seems like they’ve had a good life. So Hannah seems like she’s you and me. What I liked about Hannah the most is that all though she “doesn’t believe in magic”, she has to try, and I saw myself in that. I was always so skeptical to everything, but at the same time, I always thought “but what if…” and that is what makes Hannah try to rub the ugly teapot for the first time.

Griff is her dog, and all though I can totally picture him, I bet it’s not what he actually is. BUT, he and Hannah can communicate, which I didn’t know if it was only in Hannah’s head, or if it was actually true. I believed it to be true though, it would be just magical to be able to talk to your pets.

Genie / Metathusala the Magnificent is probably the most mysterious one in this story. He’s the genie inside the lamp, and he’s awfully strange. All though he does try to warn Hannah about her wishes, he’s also one of those “riddle-type” kind of people, who talks in “riddles”. Because he never says that she has to be on point when it comes to her wishes, he just tells her to be careful what she wishes for.

Gus struck me as a bad guy at first, haha, probably because Hannah said he was a toad smoking a cigar, but then he turned out to be quite the guy. I found it strange that he would just break into Hannah’s house late at night looking for her father’s gun, and not find Hannah first, but whatever, he’s a funny guy.

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I did not expect the ending at all! And it was so, so, so GOOD. I felt my heart almost crack a little when that plot-twist came and ah, what a good ending!

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It is a good book, and all though it’s a middle-grade book, I would recommend it to anyone really. It has an easy tone, maybe sometimes it’s a little scary, but I guess that kids these days are more bad ass than my generation. My smaller siblings surprise me every day with things they dare to watch and read and do, so I guess some scary things are okay! It does take me more time to read an e-book than it does to read a physical one, mostly because I use my phone 24/7, and when I get home I’d rather just pull out a good book and read. So, it took me some time to read this book, but it was definitely worth the time.

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09/28 – Marked as to-read
09/28 – Marked as Currently reading
10/01 – 10% “It’s kind of weird, but in a good way. So easy to read though!”
10/01 – 20% “Damn magician..”
10/13 – 40% “No :O”
10/18 – 70%
10/18 – 75% “WHY ARE THERE SPIDERS? Why not nicer things like mice without teeth or baby horses”
10/18 – Marked as read

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Probably not for myself, because I rarely buy middle grade books to savor. I always buy middle grade books in Norwegian and pass them down to my siblings whenever I’m done with them. But I would definitely buy this to my younger sister, I think she would have loved it!

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I recommend it to anyone who’s ever liked the tales of Aladdin, or to someone who would simply love an easy-read fantasy book! I would also recommend it to all parents out there who have children that needs a little magic in their lives.

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“But I like listening to you. You are the funniest girl I have ever known.” 
“Wow, your access to the outside world really has been limited.” 
– Ahmed and Hannah, The Ugly Teapot

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3 comments on “Book Review: The Ugly Teapot by Fred Holmes

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