Had the chance to meet the author at a Barnes & Noble event in Cincinnati the first weekend of November - otherwise would never have found this solid middle grade book.
I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure - common trope of disappearing into another world; time stands still in our own. Also, the tension built well in the first third of the book. I kept waiting for Sarah to discover... As the book continues, Sarah discovers that she has to right the wrong that she unwittingly set in motion. Sarah seems real to me: she gets annoyed with her little brother, but when push comes to shove, she shows where her heart lies. I also appreciated her sense of problem-solving and creative use of resources. She's definitely not a female lead who will let the guys do the heavy lifting.
Sometimes I felt like the themes of taking responsibility and group-work hit me over the head a bit. Also, the ending felt anti-climactic or too neat.
However, the positives outweighed the negatives.
Oh, and a talking cat...who can argue with that?