ARC Review: TILLY AND THE MAP OF STORIES by Anna James (Middle Grade Monday)

I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: MG
Star Rating:
Series: yes - last book of trilogy



Book cover for TILLY AND THE MAP OF STORIES: title above a girl and a boy running though a portal of pages in pink

Strange things are happening. A man comes into Pages Co looking for a book… then suddenly can’t remember it. Tilly and her family feel like the world is changing – but can’t quite put their finger on why.

Meanwhile, the Underwoods are expanding their control over bookwandering – and they still have their sights set on Tilly. Leaving the safety of the bookshop, Tilly heads to America to find the legendary Archivists and save bookwandering…

… or at least, that’s the plan. Wandering in layers of story, Tilly and her friend Oskar come up against dangers they could never have expected, team up with an unexpectedly familiar face, and ultimately find themselves taking on the biggest threat to stories there has ever been – with only their courage and ingenuity to help them. As well as some of their dearest fictional friends…

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


TILLY AND THE MAP OF STORIES follows on TILLY AND THE LOST FAIRY TALES with a clear villain. Unlike previous entries that take a while to establish the villain, and instead focus on the problem first, this book dives right in. There is a problem upsetting Tilly’s world, but it’s a background issue at first as the villains make their first move. This allows for a very quick start, catalysing her adventure and giving her personal stakes throughout.

As the final book in the trilogy, the stakes are high and the world of Bookwandering is under threat. The Underlibrary is forbidding people from entering stories, and books themselves are dying. Anna James couldn’t have picked a more terrifying prospect for Tilly to fight – stories are vanishing from the world and causing heartbreak to readers who can’t remember them any more. It’s an awful threat, and it made me root for Tilly all the more.

This book contains Shakespeare! I am a complete Shakespeare so of course I adored the fact that this book dives into a play. The chosen play is A Midsummer’s Night Dream. It’s not my favourite play, but it is the most popular and widest known (hence why it’s not my favourite – seen it too many times!). This popularity, though is what makes it the obvious choice – to maximise the chances of readers knowing the story so they can appreciate how the characters and moments are used in the story.

But that’s not all the Shakespeare in this book. However, I won’t spoil the other Shakespeare surprise because it’s SOOOO good.

Read my reviews of other books by Anna James:

Pages & Co (this series):

4 thoughts on “ARC Review: TILLY AND THE MAP OF STORIES by Anna James (Middle Grade Monday)

    1. I expect to see a blog/insta about them soon from you then! You’re the one who persuaded me to try this series in the first place after YALC


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