Friday, December 11, 2020

Review: Maylie and the Maze by M.L. Tarpley


Tales of a Travel Girl, #1
by M.L. Tarpley
Ink Map Press
Middle Grade Contemporary
195 pages
ages 8 to 12

Will Maylie’s dream be crushed by her own imagination?

Ten-year-old Maylie Montes’s dream is to become an author, but she has a problem. She can’t finish a story. Not a single one.

Her second problem is Camden, her annoying twin brother, who is determined to ruin their summer traveling through Europe with their famous photographer aunt and spunky grandma.

The first stop is England where a castle and maze, a new British friend, and a lot of weird words await Maylie—but the first item on her itinerary is to learn how to write, so she can finally finish a story. However, this goal may land her a one-way ticket home after her writing targets her brother in a spooky story involving a nighttime maze full of monsters. And Camden has his own plans, leaving Maylie to wonder if her imagination has actually become a reality.


Travel and learning about different countries combines with a girl's desire to achieve her dreams while facing the trials of a younger brother, writer's block and whatever other problems being 10-years-old might throw her way.

Maylie is ten and dreams of becoming a famous author, but no matter how hard she tries, she just can't get a story out onto paper. To make matters worse, her aunt...who is a famous photographer...wants to take them on a tour of Europe during summer break. If her younger brother wasn't joining them, she'd be more excited. But most of all, she hopes to end her writer's block.

I enjoy how travel and information about other countries, in this case London, mixes in with an interesting story in such a smooth way. Maylie sees the sites and gets a bit of historic information, letting the reader learn right along with her. The illustrations also dabble between the pages and words not only along with the story itself, but help to slide in visual aides when necessary. And these are always done in such a way, which seems as if they are simply accompanying the tale. 

The story itself brings across different problems readers of the intended age group (8 to 12) will be able to identify with. While Maylie's biggest issue in this book is her inability to write like she wants, there's also the relationship she has with her younger brother. The message of never giving up and the reminder that dreams aren't easy to achieve, ring loud and clear. But so do other ones about sibling relationships and dealing with others. 

This tale is well written but is a bit slow paced. However, when the main problem of the castle and maze finally hits about mid-way through, the tempo picks up and creates an entertaining read. It will be fun to see where Maylie goes next and what problems she'll have to figure out along the way.

And here she is...

Author M.L. Tarpley writes stories of adventure, friendship, and fun that transport kids to amazing places across the world. She is also an award-winning journalist and world traveler. Besides writing and traveling to over a dozen countries, her other interests include hanging out at cool coffee shops, listening to vintage records, going on adventures with her family, and researching dead people in her family from long ago (*cough* it’s called genealogy). She lives in Louisiana with her husband and son. For more information about her, visit her website at

1 comment:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Glad you enjoyed this. The castle and maize sound cool to me too.