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The Hostile Hospital: Book the Eighth (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

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The Baudelaires need a safe place to stay - somewhere far away from terrible villains and local police. A quiet refuge where misfortune never visits. Might Heimlich Hospital be just the place? In Lemony Snicket's eighth ghastly instalment in A Series of Unfortunate Events, I'm sorry to say that the Baudelaire Orphans will spend time in a hospital where they risk encountering a misleading newspaper headline, unnecessary surgery, an intercom system, anesthesia, heart-shaped ...

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A Series of Unfortunate Events #8: The Hostile Hospital

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The Baudelaires need a safe place to stay - somewhere far away from terrible villains and local police. A quiet refuge where misfortune never visits. Might Heimlich Hospital be just the place? In Lemony Snicket's eighth ghastly instalment in A Series of Unfortunate Events, I'm sorry to say that the Baudelaire Orphans will spend time in a hospital where they risk encountering a misleading newspaper headline, unnecessary surgery, an intercom system, anesthesia, heart-shaped balloons, and some very startling news about a fire.

Ages 10+

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
The unluckiest children in the world face their toughest challenges yet in The Hostile Hospital, the eighth book in Lemony Snicket's delightfully disastrous tales, A Series of Unfortunate Events. The three Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, began their string of bad luck when they were orphaned in a house fire. Ever since, they have been forced to move from one disastrous guardian situation to another, trailed the whole way by their greedy relative, Count Olaf, who always has yet another diabolical scheme to get his hands on their fortune.

At the end of the preceding book, The Vile Village, the children found themselves branded as murderers and on the run. Now, desperate to escape, they use the only opportunity they can find, hiding themselves amidst a group of bizarrely happy hospital volunteers whose initials -- V.F.D.: Volunteers for Fighting Disease -- will be familiar to readers of previous adventures. As a result, the children land smack in the middle of a strange hospital that is hardly made for healing. It comes as no surprise that Olaf manages to finagle his way into the facility, wearing a costume that hides his trademark eye-shaped tattoo and singular eyebrow -- a disguise that fools everyone except the children. And now that he's realized he only needs one of the Baudelaire children alive, Olaf's scheme is more heinous than ever. He intends to perform a cranioectomy (a term which here means getting her head sawed off) on Violet. Somehow Sunny and Klaus must save her, but with luck like theirs, it won't be easy.

The level of violence (though generally only implied) seems to mount with each installment of this unique series, but so does the absurdity and humor, making these woeful tales seem safely farcical. Not since the Brothers Grimm has misery been this much fun. (Beth Amos)

Children's Literature
The eighth book in "A Series of Unfortunate Events" relates the story of the Baudelaire orphans, Violet, Klaus and Sunny, who are on the run. The police, the local townspeople and hospital staff as well as Count Olaf, the man they are accused of murdering, are in pursuit. The treacherous Count, who engineered their parent's demise, desperately wants the Beaudelaire family fortune; his only means of attaining it is to eliminate the children. Hiding in the Heimlich Hospital, the children discover a clue that suggests one of their parents may still be alive. While trying to unravel this mystery, Violet is recaptured by one of Count Olaf's evil assistants who plans to "do her in" during an experimental operation in the hospital's surgical theater. Klaus and Sunny bravely rescue their sister, and the children save themselves by cleverly using materials on hand. Reminiscent of a melo-drama, this tongue-in-check thriller matches the children's wits against dastardly and devious villains. However, the story line is at times hard to follow and meets as many obstacles as the main characters with the author's frequent intrusions, stream of consciousness wanderings, ponderous explications of previous plots and endless warnings, all coupled with a disposition toward dubious double entendre. 2001, HarperCollins, $14.89 and $9.95. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Pamela Jewett
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Another roller coaster of perils for the three Baudelaire children. This time, they search for clues concerning their parents' deaths and attempt to clear themselves of a false murder charge while being pursued by the evil Count Olaf, who is after the family fortune. While attempting to escape arrest, the siblings join a volunteer group that sings and brings good cheer to patients and enter Heimlich Hospital, where they soon find themselves working in the Library of Records. A picture with an important clue surfaces just as Olaf's girlfriend discovers them and captures Violet, who is then readied for a cranioectomy, a surgery in which the head must be removed. The trio's talents are put to good use in a daring escape from the burning hospital. They jump into Olaf's car trunk in search of more clues and position themselves for the next exciting sequel. Readers will enjoy cheering for the clever youngsters, booing the diabolical villains, and noting the many new clues. The narrator's active voice is forever teasing readers by taking them to the edge of their seats and then purposely switching the subject or suggesting they stop reading all together. This volume can stand alone but few will be able to resist reading the next installment after the cliff-hanger ending.-Jean Gaffney, Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library, Miamisburg, OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064408660
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/2001
  • Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events , #8
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 35,215
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1110L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket is often despondent, mostly about his published research, which includes A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Composer Is Dead.

Brett Helquist's celebrated art has graced books from the charming Roger, The Jolly Pirate, to the alarming New York Times bestselling A Series of Unfortunate Events, to the cozy E. B. White Read-Aloud Award finalist bedtime for bear. He lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York.

Michael Kupperman has done many illustrations for such publications as Fortune, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. He frequently writes scripts for DC Comics. This is his first book.


As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end -- and, in the case of Lemony Snicket, all unfortunate things must come to an end, too. After seven years and thirteen episodes, the much beloved A Series of Unfortunate Events books are drawing to a close. At least, that's what Snicket's "handler" Daniel Handler says.

But before getting to what promises to be "the most unfortunate event of all," it is first necessary to familiarize oneself with the mysterious man who created a mega-selling series of children's novels pivoting on the premise of placing young people in peril. According to his autobiography Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography, Snicket "grew up near the sea and currently lives beneath it. To his horror and dismay, he has no wife or children, only enemies, associates, and the occasional loyal manservant. His trial has been delayed, so he is free to continue researching and recording the tragic tales of the Baudelaire orphans." Hmmm. Perhaps an autobiography purporting that it may or may not be true isn't the best place to begin.

Instead, let us focus on Daniel Handler, the man who might actually be responsible for composing the Series of Unfortunate Events books according to certain skeptics (which include Handler, himself). Daniel Handler has been asked many times why anyone would want to make a career of chronicling the ghastly trials of a trio of ill-fated orphans. "When I was young, my favorite stories were not the sort of children's books that are constantly being thrust at you when you're little," he explained in an audio essay on Barnes & "I didn't like books where people played on a sports team and won a bunch of games, or went to summer camp and had a wonderful time. I really liked a book where a witch might cut a child's head off or a pack of angry dogs might burst through a door and terrorize a family. So, I guess it should not be surprising that when I turned to children's literature I tried to think of all sorts of interesting things to happen to small children, and all of these things were pretty dreadful."

Handler has long made it clear that his wildly popular series would be limited to thirteen installments. The Penultimate Peril: Book the Twelfth finds the much-beleaguered Baudelaire orphans "enjoying" a family vacation at a menacing hotel, and Handler is wrapping up his saga with The End: Book the Thirteenth, which promises to tie up all remaining threads in the story in an undoubtedly exciting manner.

However, the conclusion of his series is no indication that Handler plans on bringing his writing career to an end. He has also written adult-targeted titles under his own name, including his latest, Adverbs: A Novel. This exploration of love, which Publishers Weekly deemed "lovely" and "lilting," may forgo the trademark Lemony Snicket wry morbidity, but Handler ensures readers that the book isn't without its own unfortunate events. "It's a fairly miserable story, as any story about love will be," he says. "People try to find love -- some of them find it, some of them don't, some of them have an unhappy time even if they do find it -- but it is considerably more cheerful than any of my so-called children's books."

Good To Know

Daniel Handler has a potentially embarrassing confession to make: he is an avowed accordion player. Handler says that when he told his parents about his decidedly uncool musical pursuits, they reacted "as if I had taken up heroin."

His interest in music does not end with the accordion. Close friend and leader of indie-rock band The Magnetic Fields Steven Merritt has written an original song for each audio book version of the Series of Unfortunate Events books. Merritt and Handler will be releasing a CD of all 13 "dreadful" songs when the final installment of the series is published in late 2006. Handler also lent his accordion-laying talents to The Magnetic Fields' critically acclaimed album 69 Love Songs.

Handler's persistence may rival that of the never-say-die Baudelaire orphans. His first novel, The Basic Eight, was rejected 37 times before it was finally published.

He enjoys the work of novelist Haruki Murakami so much that Handler devoted an entire essay to the subject in the plainly and guilelessly entitled Village Voice review, "I Love Murakami."

According to a former high school classmate writing in the local paper, Handler was "voted not only Class Clown, but also Best Actor, Chatterbox, and Teacher's Pet."

A few fun facts from our interview with Handler:

"I can cook anything."

"I know one very good card trick."

"I auditioned for an enormous role in the film Gigli."

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    1. Also Known As:
      In some parts, people get to know him through his handler, Daniel Handler.
    2. Hometown:
      Snicket is something of a nomad. Handler lives in San Francisco, California.
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 28, 1970
    2. Place of Birth:
      Handler was born in San Francisco in 1970, and says Snicket's family has roots in a land that's now underwater.
    1. Education:
      Handler is a 1992 graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from

Chapter 1

There are two reasons why a writer would end a sentence with the word "stop" written entirely in capital letters STOP. The first is if the writer were writing a telegram, which is a coded message sent through an electrical wire STOP. In a telegram, the word "stop" in all capital letters is the code for the end of a sentence STOP. But there is another reason why a writer would end a sentence with "stop" written entirely in capital letters, and that is to warn readers that the book they are reading is so utterly wretched that if they have begun reading it, the best thing to do would be to stop STOP. This particular book, for instance, describes an especially unhappy time in the dreadful lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, and if you have any sense at all you will shut this book immediately, drag it up a tall mountain, and throw it off the very top STOP. There is no earthly reason why you should read even one more word about the misfortune, treachery, and woe that are in store for the three Baudelaire children, any more than you should run into the street and throw yourself under the wheels of a bus STOP. This "stop"-ended sentence is your very last chance to pretend the "STOP" warning is a stop sign, and to stop the flood of despair that awaits you in this book, the heart-stopping horror that be gins in the very next sentence, by obeying the "STOP" and stopping STOP.

The Baudelaire orphans stopped. It was early in the morning, and the three children had been walking for hours across the flat and unfamiliar landscape. They were thirsty, lost, and exhausted, which are three good reasons to end a long walk, but they were also frightened, desperate, and not far from people who wanted to hurt them, which are three good reasons to continue. The siblings had abandoned all conversation hours ago, saving every last bit of their energy to put one foot in front of the other, but now they knew they had to stop, if only for a moment, and talk about what to do next.

The children were standing in front of the Last Chance General Store-the only building they had encountered since they began their long and frantic nighttime walk. The outside of the store was covered with faded posters advertising what was sold, and by the eerie light of the half-moon, the Baudelaires could see that fresh limes, plastic knives, canned meat, white envelopes, mango-flavored candy, red wine, leather wallets, fashion magazines, goldfish bowls, sleeping bags, roasted figs, cardboard boxes, controversial vitamins, and many other things were available inside the store. Nowhere on the building, however, was there a poster advertising help, which is really what the Baudelaires needed.

"I think we should go inside," said Violet, taking a ribbon out of her pocket to tie up her hair. Violet, the eldest Baudelaire, was probably the finest fourteen-year-old inventor in the world, and she always tied her hair up in a ribbon when she had to solve a problem, and right now she was trying to invent a solution for the biggest problem she and her siblings had ever faced. "Perhaps there's somebody in there who can help us in some way."

"But perhaps there's somebody in there who has seen our pictures in the newspaper," said Klaus, the middle Baudelaire, who had recently spent his thirteenth birthday in a filthy jail cell. Klaus had a real knack for remembering nearly every word of nearly all of the thousands of books he had read, and he frowned as he remembered something untrue he had recently read about himself in the newspaper. "If they read The Daily Punctilio," he continued, "perhaps they believe all those terrible things about us. Then they won't help us at all."

"Agery!" Sunny said. Sunny was a baby, and as with most babies, different parts of her were growing at different rates. She had only four teeth, for example, but each of them was as sharp as that of an adult lion, and although she had recently learned to walk, Sunny was still getting the hang of speaking in a way that all adults could understand. Her siblings, however, knew at once that she meant "Well, we can't keep on walking forever," and the two older Baudelaires nodded in agreement.

"Sunny's right," Violet said. "It's called the Last Chance General Store. That sounds like it's the only building for miles and miles. It might be our only opportunity to get some help."

"And look," Klaus said, pointing to a poster taped in a high corner of the building. "We can send a telegram inside. Maybe we can get some help that way."

"Who would we send a telegram to?" Violet asked, and once again the Baudelaires had to stop and think. If you are like most people, you have an assortment of friends and family you can call upon in times of trouble. For instance, if you woke up in the middle of the night and saw a masked woman trying to crawl through your bedroom window, you might call your mother or father to help you push her back out. If you found yourself hopelessly lost in the middle of a strange city, you might ask the police to give you a ride home. And if you were an author locked in an Italian restaurant that was slowly filling up with water, you might call upon your acquaintances in the locksmith, pasta, and sponge businesses to come and rescue you. But the Baudelaire children's trouble had begun with the news that their parents had been killed in a terrible fire, so they could not call upon their mother or father. The siblings could not call upon the police for assistance, because the police were among the people who had been chasing them all night long. And they could not call upon their acquaintances, because so many of the children's acquaintances were unable to help them. After the death of the Baudelaire parents, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny had found themselves under the care of a variety of guardians. Some of them had been cruel. Some of them had been murdered. And one of them had been Count Olaf, a greedy and treacherous villain who was the real reason they were all by themselves in the middle of the night, standing in front of the Last Chance General Store, wondering who in the world they could call upon for help.

"Poe," Sunny said finally. She was talking about Mr. Poe, a banker with a nasty cough, who was in charge of taking care of the children following their parents' death. Mr. Poe had never been particularly helpful, but he was not cruel, murdered, or Count Olaf, and those seemed to be reasons enough to contact him.

"I guess we could try Mr. Poe," Klaus agreed. "The worst he could do would be to say no."

"Or cough," Violet said with a small smile. Her siblings smiled back, and the three children pushed open the rusty door and walked inside....

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 339 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 340 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 6, 2008

    The Hostile Hospital

    This is another great and exciting book from Lemony Snicket. It's the eighth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events. This time, the Bauldelaire orphans are hiding out in the Heimlich Hospital. But then, as usual, Count Olaf discovers them again. Violet is about to undergo the worlds first(and unnecessary) cranioectomy. Can Klaus and Sunny save her in time? Join in the action and see for yourself.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012


    I really liked this book but you should read 1-7 first
    =[] =[] =[] =[] =[]

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2012


    I like how now the Baudilares are going to have to go through life without Mr. Poe (not that he was of help any way)

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2008

    A reviewer

    This book was terrific!! It's contents contain many pieces of a puzzle and keep you going. In every chapter and page something happens wheather good or bad to the three Baudelaires.It was so much fun to read this book. I highly reccomend it!!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2010


    The Hostile Hospital: By Lemony Snicket

    The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket is the eighth book in the Series of Unfortunate Events book series. The story starts when Violet, Klaus and Sunny went into the Last Chance General Store to hide from the police. Can you already tell how exciting this book is? Don't stop reading only gets more exciting! After being recognized, the children must flee for their lives. They find a van, and after a long argument, they decide to stowaway in the van. Because of the crimes they just committed, they need to create disguises and new identities. Their stowaway tactics work amazingly because the van took them to a hospital which allows them to search for a man connected to their uncle, the story's villain.
    When they go into the hospital, the children had to work in the Library Of Resources. The person that put them there, told them that children had to be seen, not heard. So the person that gave the children the job, didn't present himself and only told the children what to do, also he would tell the children to be quiet when they talked. If the book is getting this exciting... image how it will get as we keep going. After being told what to do, the children went to the library. While the children where in the library, they had to set up papers. They could only read a bit of a paper, and then they had to decide where the paper had to go. Towards the end, the villain assistant separates the children, and the older sister is left alone.
    When the younger sister and brother can't not find their older sister, it seems as if hope as abandoned them. This book turns out suspenseful, even when you least expect it to be. This book is better than all the one's I read, because the kids must find the sister before it's too late. After the children are with the volunteers, they get a list with patients!! Only one problem... which patient is their older sister with a disguised name, and is getting a cranioectomy surgery!! When the younger brother and sister can't find there older sister, the children have to find a strategy to find there sister. Towards the end, the children's strategy work's, but did they find there sister? BUY THE BOOK if you want to find out!!
    The darkness was almost all around the room. Almost as if it were claiming it's territory. The children were in the room with the patient that they were going to perform cranioectomy for the first time in the hospital. The villains assistance were there to watch the operation gain life. The children had to stole the people to find a way out of the room. The younger bother talked about the rust of the saw he had. After a few more things that he talked about, the crowed got sort of mad. The people were tied that the operation still had no life. Who is this mystery patient though? As the children set their sites on their mission(s), the reader has to infer and predict throughout the entire story. When you think that might have figured out something, the book turns the tables around sometimes, and says something different/complete different. BUY THE BOOK PEOPLE! It is really this EXCITING, and MYSTERIOUS.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    The hostile hospital

    Wierd book but awesome its about the baudlaire siblings sunny,klaus,and violet all 3of them are running away from an evil nasty man count olaf who is trying to take their money.when they stop at a general store they hear about vfd so they try to find out the secret of it.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    example review

    i give this book 4 and half star. this book has a thrilling adventure and mystery. these book is about threee children trying to get away from villans and police. this book is great if you are looking for problem solving and escapes.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2011

    this particular book out of all the series is awesome!!!!!!

    i first read this book in school by my english teacher told me to read the 1st book and i did as soon as i read it i was hooked and i keepet asking for more and more and so on.... but this book this particular book is awesome because its full of adventure and mystery and like realy fun to ready ive almost read the whole series and i love it i highly recomend this bbok to you.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2012


    The best one so far!!!

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2011

    Perfectly Formatted

    A Series of Unfortunate Events 8: The Hostile Hospital / 9780061757204

    I've reviewed the content of this 5-star book elsewhere, and would like to focus my review here on the ebook formatting. This ebook is perfectly formatted and is the ideal example of how to correctly migrate a paperbook to ebook format. The pictures at the beginning of the book are inserted correctly, and the table of contents is linked correctly to each chapter. I also did not observe any errors in the text nor any formatting issues with special characters. I am very pleased with this ebook purchase and recommend this edition of the book highly.

    ~ Ana Mardoll

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2013

    Best book ever

    BEST BOOK EVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2013

    The series of unfourtunate events

    I think that this series is an interesting series full of crazy twists and turns! This series holds all of the tales of the Baudelaire orphans, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2014


    This is THE BEST book in th series!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2014

    Plz read this

    I can relate to the kids cause i love to readnand make inventions. I also have no parents ...,.:-[ :-[

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014

    If u want to know what vfd means

    If u want to know what VFD means go ask the nice person or do anything with a word or thing u dont know about. (Hint not an old fashoined dictionary) <p> from a person who knew the story too soon............. <p> merry

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2014

    Not read

    I have not read it yet but i have read 1-7 and i loved them. DONT SPOIL IT !!!!!!!!!!! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2014


    If anyone wants to know what vfd is just put vfd in your headlines and ill tell you what it stands for. But only if you are going to die if you do not know. The best part of a book is the surprise. This is an awesome series and i reccomend them. Mr.
    Snicket has an eloquent way with words

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014


    OMG this book is bettrr that i expected. I love this and would say that everyone who like mysteries should totally read this

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2014


    I think it is a good book but it is sad all it really is is orphans getting hurt in time of need it is really good but just a little parts are very sad

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  • Posted January 1, 2014

    Another one of my favorites. Don't what else to say about the bo

    Another one of my favorites. Don't what else to say about the books that I haven't already said. Another good sequel. Love the covers.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 340 Customer Reviews

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