Brenna Morgan had lived a life without roots, moving around the world with her parents, who write for a travel magazine. She has lived a life that sounds exciting and exotic, but her deepest desire is to make friends, and go to school…to be a normal teenager. Much to her surprise, both of these things happen when she arrives in Ireland with her mother…at least to a certain degree. While Brenna makes friends easily, and is allowed to enroll in school, her life is anything but normal! On her second day in Ireland, she meets a dying fairy, who entrusts her with an iron key, and with a quest to find and protect a special young girl, who is a member of the fairy realm. Danger abounds within the fairy realm for a mere mortal like Brenna, but like the heroes of ancient Irish mythology, she is determined to keep her promise and to protect the innocent.
Brenna Morgan and The Iron Key is a fun YA tale, which touches on many aspects of Irish mythology, from the Fairy Mounds and Finn McCool, to the leprechauns and the Morrigan. Brenna is very heroic, never seeming to doubt the importance of doing what is right, even if it means martyring herself…this can make her a bit trite and unrealistic at times, but this is made up for with her stilted friendship with a proud fairy noble and romance with her dreamy Irish lad. The plot has a fair number of twists and turns, with enough surprises to keep the story from being too predictable, as is sometimes the case with YA books. That being said, I would not necessarily recommend this book to adults, since the protagonists are all unapologetically teenagers…but I think teen readers would devour and enjoy this story.
Beyond its typical YA attributes of blooming romance and teenagers saving the world, this book does pose some important questions for young readers to think about. For example, how does trust shape parent-child relationships, how important is independence, how much say do we have in our destinies and about who travels the road of life with us? Most importantly, how do the choices made now shape that road of life tomorrow? Overall, this is a good, short read, which I will definitely be recommending to my students for their summer reading lists!