Tell, or the Adventures in Themiddle

Young Adult - Coming of Age
300 Pages
Reviewed on 05/08/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Tell, or the Adventures in Themiddle is a work of fiction written for young adults by author L. N. Mayer. Our titular character is William Teller Fontaine, who begins the story as an attendee at Theffects School for Troubled Boys. Upon his expulsion from the school, Tell returns home and begins a journey of surreal self-exploration as he encounters a series of highly fantastical things. One such thing is a shape-shifting elephant that obeys many of Tell’s own thoughts, which sets him on the road to discovering the roots of the atrocity that got him expelled from school in the first place.

Mature middle-grade readers and those at the younger end of the young adult spectrum will surely be absolutely spellbound by the work of author L. N. Mayer in this highly atmospheric, well-described, and utterly thrilling adventure. There is a clear love for language throughout the work, which I'm certain will challenge younger readers to explore the ways in which they can also play with language to convey their meanings. I enjoyed the dreamlike atmosphere and surreal quality of scene-making, which reminded me somewhat of the works of Lewis Carroll and serve to conceptualize Tell’s world and welcome us into its many bizarre quirks and fascinations. Underlying all of this are some important moral themes about our true selves and the consequences of our own actions, which give a realistic and emotive backdrop to the adventure itself. Overall, I would highly recommend Tell, or the Adventures in Themiddle for any young reader looking for a unique and fascinating new read.

Kristen Van Kampen (Teen Reviewer)

Tell, or the Adventures in Themiddle by L. N. Mayer takes the reader on a journey to a different world called Themiddle. When the main character Tell gets kicked out of Theffects School for Troubled Boys after witnessing a giant bird make the school bully disappear, he arrives home to find a letter from his father, telling him that if he was reading it, his father was dead. However, he knows his father enjoys pranks and isn't sure if it is true, or if it’s just an elaborate joke. But, when men from the local orphanage show up, Tell takes off into the fields nearby his house and finds himself in Themiddle, where he teams up with a talking fox and a man with two bodies to figure out what happened to his father.

With intriguing characters and exciting scenes, Tell, or the Adventures in Themiddle by L. N. Mayer is an enjoyable read. Every character within the story has a unique premise, such as being two people in one or a fox that plays an instrument, and it makes the reader want to know more about them. The character names and place names are all very original and memorable, fitting the idea that the book takes place in another world. The world in which the book takes place is very well designed and I thought it was cool that it even had their own expressions, for which there is a glossary at the back. The story is very creative and interesting and has many exciting and funny scenes. The book is well written and very descriptive.

Liz Konkel

Tell, or the Adventures in Themiddle by L.N. Mayer is an exciting and unique adventure that brings the imagination to life. William Teller flees following expulsion from Theffects School for Troubled Boys to discover upon his arrival home that his father had disappeared. His stay at home is cut short when the situation turns serious with representatives from an orphanage arriving at his door. Staying a step ahead, he manages to escape before they’re able to whisk him away and, in the process, meets a strange fellow that claims to be a tree-expert. This mysterious stranger blames Tell’s imagination for something he couldn’t possibly have done. Tell is skeptical, to say the least, but through a series of strange events, he finds his life turned upside down. Could his imagination really be coming to life? That answer comes through unusual situations that bring him face to face with a shape-shifting elephant, a world where his belief is forbidden, and surprising allies that help him track down the truth behind a shocking secret.

L.N. Mayer delivers a fun and unique concept that explores a fine line between belief, imagination, and reality. At the root of the story is the exploration of imagination and belief, seen through Tell’s ability to bring his imagination to life. The plot delves into the meaning of reality as his imagination comes to life around him to create strange events which he encounters throughout the course of the adventure. The story has a variety of whimsical characters from a shape-shifting elephant to a mysterious tree-expert. You will encounter every strange and wonderous character and antic along with Tell, with Mayer’s creativity shining through every moment. This is a story that is good for all ages with several surprises that follow Tell on his journey as he learns about himself and uncovers a secret of his father’s that changes everything. Tell, or the Adventures in Themiddle, is a unique adventure that brings the imagination to life in a new and creative way. It explores all the possibilities of belief through one boy’s journey to find answers about his father and himself.