I love when a publisher sends me a review copy of a book I am just about to order for myself. This came in the mail the very day it was released, and I devoured half of it on my lunch hour!
I reviewed the first book in this series, Cold Cereal, in this post (which I just realized contains an embarrassing number of typos - I will fix those shortly!). It was hard to give a synopsis of that one without giving things away, and while still making sense. This one is almost as difficult, and that is part of its charm. The writing still reminds me of Daniel M. Pinkwater, now with some J.R.R. Tolkein creeping in. Did that make you tilt your head and give a puzzled expression as you tried to picture what that would look like? Good, then I think you're ready.
All the characters from Cold Cereal, the good, the bad, and the aggravating, reappear in Unlucky Charms. Scott's Mom is even there - until, suddenly, she isn't. New characters are introduced (queens both human and fae), backstories are fleshed out, and the group is divided as different quests with the same end goal are pursued (see? Tolkein). Rex is able to keep the different stories going at a quick pace, without confusing the reader. I finished reading happy with what I had learned, but anxious for the next installment. Get on with it, Rex!
I would recommend this one for grades 4 up through high school, especially any readers into fantasy and/or hilarity. The size (just shy of 400 pages) may be daunting to a reluctant reader, but a chapter or two read aloud could hook them pretty firmly. Thank-you, HarperCollins, for the very timely review copy!