Briony Larkin is a wicked girl. She hurt her stepmother and hurt her twin sister Rose. She is also a witch–she knows by her ability to move through the swamp that is home to the Old Ones, mysterious beings who often prey upon their human neighbors. Then Briony meets Eldric, an energetic “bad boy” who Briony becomes friends with. Eldric thinks Briony is wonderful and good, but Briony must remind herself that she is an evil, soulless witch. However, as Briony should know, things might not be quite what they seem.
Chime by Franny Billingsley is a delightful book, with a superbly crafted plot. Billingsley has created a wonderful world where the real both clashes and merges with the fantastical. The writing has a delightful tempo all of its own, and it fit really well with the story. I occasionally found Briony to be a bit whiny, but I really loved her sister Rose and Eldric. Despite that brief complaint about Briony, I did find her character engaging and active. I would say that I liked her conflict more the further I read in the book and was delighted with the ending. Due to the complexity and certain scenes, I would recommend this book for eighth grade and up, although a mature seventh grader may be able to handle it.