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Provided by Macmillan
Utah author Obert Skye is the author of "Witherwood Reform School," the first book in a new series for middle grade readers.

WITHERWOOD REFORM SCHOOL, Book 1,” by Obert Skye, illustrated by Keith Thompson, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 240 pages (f) (ages 9-12)

Utah author Obert Skye spins a story that starts with two mischievous children and a prank on their governess gone awry in “Witherwood Reform School,” a book for middle grade readers that was released in March.

Tobias and Charlotte Eggars are dropped off by their widower father at the edge of a mesa in practically the middle of nowhere as he hopes it will help teach them a lesson after an, um, misunderstanding with the governess that involved gravy and tadpoles.

The siblings end up at a very strange school on top of the mesa. When they seek help during an unexpected rainstorm, they meet an odd man — the first of several unusual things they experience at Witherwood Reform School. There are many doors they aren’t allowed to enter and responsibilities they are assigned, and when they meet other students, things seem a little off. Upon meeting the school’s headmaster, they find out he’s perfected the art of mind control.

Tobias and Charlotte have never been inclined to always follow every rule, but this school and its leaders and teachers create a challenge for them as they try to find a way out.

Meanwhile, their father has amnesia and can’t remember who he is, much less that he has children, as he tries to retrace his whereabouts to figure out his history.

Skye, who is the author of the Leven Thumps, The Creature from My Closet and Pillage series, has created another engaging story set in a world where things aren’t quite as they should or seem to be.

It’s interesting to see how the siblings stick together and do their best to help each other despite occasional tiffs and misunderstandings.

There is no swearing or sexual content, and the mild violence is shared in an age-appropriate way.

Be forewarned that the ending doesn’t resolve much of anything for Tobias and Charlotte. The second book, “Lost and Found,” is scheduled to be released in March 2016.

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