Delia Sherman's The Evil Wizard Smallbone
Sherman's latest, after The Freedom Maze, had a very Diana Wynne Jones vibe to me. It centers on a boy running away from an abusive uncle, only to find himself on the doorstep of an evil wizard--who promptly makes the boy his unwilling apprentice. There is also a pretty cool science-minded local girl, part of the mysterious community, AND a magical bookstore! My main beef with this book was that I had a really hard time sympathizing with the main character b/c he's occasionally a real little jerkwad and is not always nice to the many awesome animal friends. I mean, I also hate when dogs jump on me, but I don't KICK them when they do it. Otherwise, it's a fun and action-packed fantasy story with a good sense of humor. I just don't get why random acts of animal cruelty are part of it. B/B+.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released in September.