EMILY AND THE SPELLSTONE for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

First off—some big news: I’m taking over MMGM for the next two months. Our fearless leader, Shannon Messenger, is on a crazy travel schedule and reached out to me to take over for November and December. See below on how to submit your next MMGM pick. Now, onto this week’s review feature… EMILY AND THE SPELLSTONE


This fantasy adventure is perfect for Halloween week or any week for that matter. It has parallel worlds and a not too scary demon who supplies most of the funny moments. Told in third person, the story centers around an unhappy middle schooler, Emily. She hasn’t quite fit in yet and the popular mean girl is making sure she never does.

Enter the stone and Emily’s life changes—and not for the better. The stone has somehow chosen her to be the Stonemaster. She keeps the stone hidden but the power of it is soon evident in her world—just ask the neighbor!

Gorgo the demon pops out of the stone and he’s scary as they come but also helpful. Most of the real terror comes from a family in the other world who wants the stone. It’s an enjoyable read with hints of a sequel. I’ll be ready once I drain the candy bowl for all the trick or treaters tomorrow night. Too bad sequels don’t happen as fast.


FULL PLOT (From AMAZON) Emily picks up a stone that looks like a cell phone but has unexpected magical powers. It’s a Spellstone! Now that she has become an unwilling Stonemaster—one who wields the power of the Stone—she has to figure out Spellstone technology fast if she is to survive a hair-raising adventure among giant dogs, demons, clones, mean girls, and deeply wicked people who want the Stone. A witty tale of a quiet girl who discovers she’s a hero when she needs to be. Stonemasters rule!



  • A librarian helps Emily with answers to her questions about the stone. Librarians rarely get a nod in MG books so this secondary character made me smile.
  • Word play is evident throughout. How about the difference between a dog, dogg, and doggg? Those last two are definitely not man’s best friend.
  • A great meshing of the two main characters. Loud mouthed Gorgo with Emily’s more cautious personality.
  • I laughed out loud many times at Gorgo’s witty comebacks.
  • Messages about friendships and fitting in are welcome themes for young people to read about.

    “I have a list of rules,” she said.

    “Oh, boy.”

    “First off: I command you to always be honest with me.”

    “Okay. You’re too old to have superhero bed sheets,” he said. “What? You said I have to be honest.”


    Michael Rubens is the author of the novels The Sheriff of Yrnameer, Sons of the 613, The Bad Decisions Playlist, and Emily and the Spellstone (June 2017). He is a correspondent and producer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and has previously produced for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. His writing has also appeared in places like The New Yorker Daily Shouts, Salon, and McSweeney’s. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, to help alleviate that area’s critical shortage of writers and producers.


    Make a comment below if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them.

    Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.

    If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com

     (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
    Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and for spreading the middle grade love!

    *Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

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