FIERCELY FICTIONAL: The Curse of Eelgrass Bog

FIERCELY FICTIONAL celebrates fierce, inspiring fictional girls we know you’ll love. To us, “fierce” isn’t just about slaying dragons or solving mysteries. It’s about breaking free from your comfort zone, discovering your confidence, fighting for what you believe in, & discovering your emotional strength. Any girl can shine bright & be fierce, & in this series, we’ll connect you with a new fiercely fictional character every month!

FIERCELY FICTIONAL is back, and we’re spotlighting twelve-year-old bone hunter Kess Pedrock in The Curse of Eelgrass Bog, an enchanting new read by Mary Averling.

Kess and her older (and totally annoying) brother Oliver grew up at their parent’s Unnatural History Museum, a delightfully weird place filled with curious treasures with unusual histories. Their parents are scientists who’ve recently embarked on a long research trip in Antarctica, so Kess is running the museum, spending her days listening to her BFF Shrunken Jim, a pickled demon head in a jar, share bizarre tales and myths.

One day, a new girl named Lilou shows up at the museum asking Kess for help breaking the curse that looms over the nearby bog. Eelgrass Bog may be dangerous and forbidden, inhabited by witches and demons, and possibly worse – but Kess is certain this quest will help bring visitors back to her parent’s museum and lead to incredible discoveries of fauna and bog monster fossils, so she teams up with Lilou and heads right into the adventure of a lifetime. Filled with surprising twists, cool underground tunnels, and an undeniably charming shrunken head, you’ll tear through the pages as Kess and Lilou unravel the mystery and attempt to break the curse.

The Curse of Eelgrass Bog:

Book cover for The Curse of Eelgrass Bog by Mary Averling

Dark secrets and unnatural magic abound when a twelve-year-old girl ventures into a bog full of monsters to break a mysterious curse.

Nothing about Kess Pedrock’s life is normal. Not her home (she lives in her family’s Unnatural History Museum), not her interests (hunting for megafauna fossils and skeletons), and not her best friend (a talking demon’s head in a jar named Shrunken Jim).

But things get even stranger than usual when Kess meets Lilou Starling, the new girl in town. Lilou comes to Kess for help breaking a mysterious curse—and the only clue she has leads straight into the center of Eelgrass Bog.

Everyone knows the bog is full of witches, demons, and possibly worse, but Kess and Lilou are determined not to let that stop them. As they investigate the mystery and uncover long-buried secrets, Kess begins to realize that the curse might hit closer to home than she’d ever expected, and she’ll have to summon all her courage to find a way to break it before it’s too late.

The Curse of Eelgrass Bog
AUTHOR: Mary Averling
PUBLISHER: Razorbill
DATE: January 2, 2024

We’re deeming The Curse of Eelgrass Bog an instant classic – it’s enchantingly eerie, and every page perfectly captures the misty, foggy, cursed vibe of this unusual and unforgettable adventure. The story captured our hearts, and Kess is a new fictional favorite for sure. We love a good misfit, and her love of the unusual, paired with her unwavering determination and curiosity, make her the perfect pick to kick off this year’s FIERCELY FICTIONAL series.

We’re excited to share that The Curse of Eelgrass Bog author Mary Averling is here sharing a peek between the pages of this new read and all the reasons Kess Pedrock is totally fierce!

Five Reasons Kess Pedrock is Totally Fierce:

Graphic that reads "Embraces her weird"

She embraces her weird:

It might not be easy fitting in when you’ve grown up in an Unnatural History Museum (and your bestie is a pickled head), but Kess loves the things that make her unique! Dead stuff? Fascinating. Witches and curses? Bring it on!

She doesn’t let strangeness faze her, so when it’s time to solve a mystery about the not-so-normal parts of Eelgrass Bog, nobody is better for the job than Kess.

Graphic that reads "Clever & Resourceful"

She’s clever and resourceful:

Kess’s parents are super-smart scientists, so she learned from the best! Now they’ve gone on a research trip to Antarctica, it’s down to Kess to take care of their museum alone. (Her turnip-brained big brother isn’t much help, after all.) Luckily, Kess knows a thing or two about the exhibits in their museums—from bog mummies to kraken tentacles, she’s got it covered! 

But her biggest skill is bone hunting. Kess is pretty sure that she can find monster bones on Eelgrass Bog and bring visitors back to the Unnatural History Museum. If there’s anything monstrous hiding on (or under) Eelgrass Bog, Kess is sure to find it.

Graphic that reads "Gets her hands dirty"

She isn’t afraid of hard (or mucky!) work:

When you’re hunting for bones underground, “getting your hands dirty” is a super literal reality! Kess isn’t intimidated by a little dirt, or bugs, or worms. Actually, the more wriggly, the better! She’s got her museum cleaning schedule down (with the right music to sing along to, of course) and she’s even perfected sandwich-making for herself and her (usually ungrateful) brother. 

Still, Kess soon learns that working hard is only half the battle. Sometimes, it’s necessary to ask for help—and this is very important too! Life can be a lot, and there’s nothing more magical than helping hands to lighten the load.

Graphic that reads "Cherishes her people"

She holds on tight to the people who matter:

Kess has plenty of wonderful memories from when Mam and Da were living at home, and she keeps them gathered around her like a blanket whenever she’s sad or lonely. Even though it can be hard when the people you love aren’t around, memories are still worth cherishing! Besides, Kess is starting to make new friends, too—Lilou just moved into town, and there are other strange figures lurking on Eelgrass Bog who might not be as fearsome as they seem. And, of course, there’s Shrunken Jim! Kess takes him everywhere she can, and hearing his bizarre stories (especially ones about the mysterious Drowned World) is one of her favourite pastimes. 

Even Oliver, her prune-hearted brother, holds a special place in her heart. Usually.

Graphic that reads "Chases adventure"

She chases adventure:

Whether it’s a bottomless underground tunnel, or a cryptic map left by Lilou’s grandpa, or a house with stilt-legs (owned by someone who is probably a witch), Kess isn’t about to leave any questions unanswered! Even when things get scary or strange, adventure makes Kess’s heart sing. She loves stories, and there’s nothing more exciting than being in the middle of one! Even when it might be easier to keep her head down and close her ears to the secrets woven through Eelgrass Bog, Kess is ready to forge ahead and get to the bottom of things.

📚Need another fierce read to add to your shelf after The Curse of Eelgrass Bog? Catch up on our FIERCELY FICTIONAL series!

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