The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson<br>
Pan Macmillan, 2015. ISBN 9781447266150
Highly recommended. Joel wants nothing more than to be a Rithmatist. He wants to be someone with the unique ability to bring chalk drawings to life; better known as Chalklings. He wants the right to defend his world from the Wild Chalklings that plague it. Joel has spent his whole life following his deceased father's passion, and learning and studying as much about the Rithmatists as he possibly can. But only one in one thousand children are chosen, and Joel is not one of them. However, Joel can draw near-perfect circles; better than anyone that Professor Finch has seen at Armedius Academy in years. When students start mysteriously disappearing from the academy, it is Joel who puts these skills to use and helps Professor Finch in his investigation. Joel, with the help of his friend Melody, must join forces to solve the crimes at the academy. But during their search, they discover more about themselves and their world than they ever thought possible.
Sanderson's imaginatively written novel draws the reader into his exceptional world of Armedius Academy. The chalk drawing illustrations at the beginning of each chapter also helps the reader put together an image of what the Rithmatists work looks like. His characters are likeable, and Joel is especially endearing, whilst Melody is charmingly awkward. The fast-paced action teamed with the suspense of the slowly unfolding mystery will keep the reader on their toes, needing to know what happens next.
This gripping and at times quite funny novel is suitable for children and teens of all ages, but will especially strike a chord with those who favour mysteries and fantasy.