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Reviewed by Katelyn Hensel for Readers' Favorite
Second Hand Stops by Katie St. Clair is the first book in the Van Buren Series. Left alone on a doorstep, Julia Malone is joined by several telepathic children to form a hotchpotch family of sorts under the watchful eye of the strange Mistress Lilliun. I have to admit, you are thrust right into the family right along with them. I could barely keep track of which person was which, but that definitely increased the level of confusion and chaos that would exist in the actual situation. Katie St. Claire has crafted such a fun character in the form of Julia. I'm quite impressed by her acerbic yet witty and still warm snark. She seems like the kind of girl I am on the inside, or at least the kind that I would very much like to be best friends with!
The setting is a blend of historical fiction and a mixture of New York and Old World Europe. It was fun to be in a book where traveling occurred as it would in real life, though many of the strange, paranormal, and telepathic happenings are very far from normal! It also occurred in small steps. You get glimpses of Julia and the others when they are young, snippets of when they are growing up, and then finally we settle in on one age for the remainder of the book. Doing this allowed us to get the whole picture of these kids and their background. Second Hand Stops is a fun and intriguing entry into this world...and I fully intend on coming back soon!