I bought this book and read it one sitting, then read it again twice within the first week. It's a magical, completely enchanting story with just the right amount of scariness. Olivia is a quirky preteen who has moved for the umpteenth time with her father, who's inept at his job as a building superintendent but lovable and loving as a parent. He and Olivia are both kind of lonely (they've lost some dear people in their lives and can't bring themselves to share their grief with one another).
They've moved into a rather unusual Manhattan apartment building. Well, the building isn't that unusual, but its tenants sure are. Olivia, who has been ridiculed by some of her classmates and is feeling pretty vulnerable and alone, gets locked out of their apartment one day and ends up making friends with some of her fellow tenants, people she would never in her wildest dreams have expected to met, let alone grow fond of.
The writer is deft and creative, with a vivid imagination and literary style that really draws you in. I am a big "Harry Potter" fan and think "Olivia Kidney" is just as compelling and just as good a read. I can't wait for the next installment. (I sure hope Ellen Potter is already at work on the second one.)
The age guidelines say 9 to 12, but I know an 8-year-old and more than a few teens and 20-, 30-, 40-, and 70-year-olds who love it, too. I've bought copies for seven friends and family members and can't rave about it enough. Enjoy!