Then and There Here and Where, written by Esabella Strickland and Michael Strickland

Then and There Here and Where
written by Esabella Strickland and Michael Strickland
Gen Z Publishing, 2021
978-1-952-91926-8 (pb) $17.99
for Grades 5 and up

Fiction | Fantasy | Neurodiversity | Time Travel

Twelve-year-old Orabella’s biggest worry should be about choosing between high school or homeschooling, not trying to find her parents who vanished right in front of her eyes. But in the midst of her decision to either stick with her friends or be free from the bullying she receives because of her learning disability, she discovers that the world she knew isn’t as it seems. After being forced to move in with her grandparents, Orabella stumbles upon a family secret tracing back to Ancient Egypt. Now she’s thrust into a world of ancient spirits, time-travelling and the Tree of Life, an entity that maintains the stability of the entire universe. And it’s up to her to protect it.

Esabella and Michael Strickland’s work is unique and reflective of the author’s own experiences with neurodiversity. Written in the main character’s perspective, the Stricklands intend to empower young girls into becoming their own heroines.

This book is the first installment of the series, and the goal of this story is to connect young women and encourage them to be unashamed and unstoppable in their dreams. Mixing past and present-day girl-power, this book shows that even with all the power in the universe, it’s better to have friends by your side than to stand alone. Anyone who’s felt like an outcast for being different, who knows what it’s like to want to move heaven and earth to protect the people they care about, or who wants a reminder that they’re stronger than they think they are, will find encouragement in this story. Written for middle-grade readers, this book is a reminder that fears and doubts can only make a person stronger if you choose to face them.

Sara Rigotti is a student at the University of Ottawa and a board member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region.

Find more of our review series here.