Cover image for The spindlers
The spindlers
Oliver, Lauren, 1982-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Harper, [2012]

Physical Description:
246 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Accompanied by an eccentric, human-sized rat, Liza embarks on a perilous quest through an underground realm to save her brother Patrick, whose soul has been stolen by the evilest of creatures--the spider-like spindlers.
Reading Level:

840 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.8 7.0 156289.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.5 13 Quiz: 59204.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction New Materials
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Evocative of Alice in Wonderland, this novel from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver is a bewitching story about the reaches of loyalty and the enduring power of hope. Perfect for fans of the author's other middle grade novels: Liesl & Po and the Curiosity House series.

Looking across the breakfast table one morning, twelve-year-old Liza feels dread wash over her. Although her younger brother, Patrick, appears the same, Liza knows that he is actually quite different. She is certain that the spindlers--evil, spiderlike beings--came during the night and stole his soul. And Liza is also certain that she is the only one who can rescue him.

Armed with little more than her wits and a huge talking rat for a guide, Liza descends into the dark and ominous underground to save Patrick's soul. Her quest is far from easy: she must brave tree-snakes, the Court of Stones, and shape-shifting scawgs before facing her greatest challenge in the spindlers' lair, where more than just Patrick's soul is at stake.

Author Notes

Lauren Oliver (born Laura Schechter) was born in New York City in 1982. She received degrees in philosophy and literature from the University of Chicago in 2004. She graduated the MFA program at NYU in 2008. She worked briefly as an editorial assistant and an assistant editor at Razorbill, a division of Penguin Books. She left to become a full-time writer in 2009. Her first novel, Before I Fall, was published in 2010. Her other works include Delirium, Liesl and Po, and Pandemonium. Her title's Panic, Vanishing Girls and The Shrunken Head made The New York Times Best Seller List. She made the Hollywood Reporter's '25 Most Powerful Authors' 2016 list, entering at number 23.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

When Liza's little brother, Patrick, comes downstairs one morning, she knows that Spindlers have gotten him: while he slept, they crept in, stole his soul, deposited their eggs, and slipped back to their underground lairs. Soon the fake Patrick will turn to dust, and a thousand new Spindlers will burst into the world. Liza tries to tell her exhausted, busy parents, but they don't believe her. So Liza sets out to reclaim Patrick's soul. Oliver's new middle-grade novel feels a bit like a fantasy checklist: misunderstood girl goes through door on quest, teams up with eccentric sidekick, is double-crossed, solves riddles and thwarts monsters, is saved from disaster by friendly creatures, and returns home with new understanding. In spite of these familiar elements, the story flows well, with enough dangers to propel the pace and plenty of memorable characters, including Mirabella, the makeup-wearing rat. Oliver creates a sympathetic heroine in Liza, whose trials, both Below and Above, will appeal to young readers. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: An author tour, media appearances, a dedicated Facebook page, and even a sweepstakes will likely expand the audience for this title beyond Oliver's zillions of current fans.--Rutan, Lynn Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Liza knows the spiderlike Spindlers have stolen the soul of her brother, Patrick, when he spells "I H-A-T-E Y-O-U" in his Alpha-Bits cereal one morning. "And they had left this thing, this not-younger-brother, in its place." Liza's harried parents reprimand her for making up stories, so she ventures into the damp basement, crawls through the hole behind the bookcase, and falls into the world "Below" to save her brother. There, a gaudily dressed, loquacious rat, Mirabella, agrees to lead Liza to the Spindlers' nests. Along the way, Mirabella introduces Liza to troglods, who sell lost human objects; the lumer-lumpen (glowworms); nocturni, who guard human souls; and other strange, frightening creatures. The terrain changes in dreamlike fashion as Liza travels through market, forest, palace, mountain, and more, making discoveries both terrible and hopeful. Themes of fairness, loyalty, betrayal, and redemption play out in Liza and Mirabella's relationship, and throughout the underworld cosmos. Oliver's (Liesl & Po) magical, mesmerizing quest affirms the saving power of story, friendship, and love. Ages 8-12. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Foundry Literary + Media. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-Patrick has always been a sweet, lovable child, but one morning Liza notices that her younger brother seems remote and somehow empty. Their parents are too preoccupied to notice, but Liza remembers eerie stories her beloved babysitter used to tell. She realizes that this not-Patrick is a changeling. Her real brother has been taken by the spindlers-spiderlike creatures that haunt the world below. These evil beings gather their power from the souls of those they steal, while the counterfeits they leave behind spawn more spindlers to prey on the human sphere. When Liza resolves to brave the danger and retrieve Patrick's soul, she meets Mirabella, a talking rat who claims to know the way to the spindler queen's nesting place. Together, they set off on their quest. The underground realm is filled with unusual residents-some amusing, some quietly beautiful, and some truly terrifying. Mirabella seems friendly and helpful, but the rat's cheerful demeanor hides a shocking secret. Ultimately, Liza and Mirabella must face their own tests of courage and sacrifice with not only Patrick's fate, but all of Below at stake. This imaginative fantasy emphasizes individual initiative and the power of hope and friendship. Below is a fully realized alternate world with echoes of both classic literature and mythology. This is particularly notable in its variety of inhabitants. Although the creatures are Oliver's own creations, such beings as the winged, dream-bearing nocturni and the shape-shifting, cannibalistic scawgs have the feel of true folklore. With strong, self-reliant female characters and well-defined action, this is a strong addition to fantasy collections.-Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.