Don’t get yourself noticed and you won’t get yourself hanged.
In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings—Peculiars—and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.
One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley—Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.
First he’s noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish . . . and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.
“The Peculiar has the kind of enchantment, whimsy, and utter wonder that stands the test of time. An astounding debut!”
“Polished and fun to read… Bachmann’s steampunk fairy tale… recalls Dostoyevsky, Dickens, and more recent classics, such as J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events… Bachmann leavens the dark goings-on with whimsy… in spectacular and hilarious fashion… [An] unusually gifted young writer.”
“Richly realized… accomplished… This is a story young fantasy buffs are sure to enjoy.”
“Gripping… with a wry humor and unusual characters. Fans of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (HarperCollins, 2008) and young steampunk enthusiasts will find much here to enjoy.”
“Bachmann’s prose is beautiful, and his story is swift, strong, and entertaining. Highly recommended. I can’t wait to see what Bachmann writes next.”
“In a vividly imagined alternate England where faeries and humans live in mutual suspicion, Bartholomew Kettle has the worst of both worlds. As a changeling, his very existence is a crime. ‘Don’t get yourself noticed’ may be the most important rule for changelings, but that advice won’t help the talented young author of The Peculiar. Stefan Bachmann’s sparkling debut is sure to get a lot of well-deserved notice. He breathes fresh life into ancient magic.”
“When a teenager writes a publishable book, it’s noteworthy, but when the book is this good, it’s something special. Bachmann … has a polished and witty writing style; his characters are skillfully developed, the action is nonstop, and his faery society is fascinating. An absolute treat for readers of any age.”
“Glittering moments of adult truth are actually breath-taking and worth reading a third and fourth time . . . With precision, [Bachmann] defied his youth and created a world and a story deep enough for adults but fun enough for children . . . Imagination flourishes on the pages of this book. Reading The Peculiar is rewarding, and Bachmann’s exciting new voice is a welcome breeze.”
“Not only is The Peculiar a marvelous read but it’s also a spirited exercise in ingenuity and a marvel of invention and atmosphere. That’s an achievement in itself, but when you consider it’s by such a young man, it’s an even more remarkable accomplishment that will be hailed by readers young and old.”
“Take Charles Dickens, Neil Gaiman, and James Barrie and you have Stefan Bachmann’s The Peculiar. A story that will pull you into a dark and alternative Victorian London. This is a book both dark, forbidding, magical, and weird, but one rich with characters you will not soon forget. This is that rare story that shows us how friendship and finding your way in the world come at unexpected times.”