Behind the Canvas by Alexander Vance is a middle grade novel that is currently scheduled for release on February 23 2016. Claudia Miravista loves art but only sees what is on the surface, until the Dutch boy Pim appears in her painting. Pim has been trapped in the world behind the canvas for centuries by a power-hungry witch, and now believes that Claudia is his only hope for escape. Fueled by the help of an ancient artist and some microwaveable magic, Claudia enters the wondrous and terrifying world, intent on destroying the witch's most cherished possession and setting Pim free. But in that world nothing is quite as it appears on the surface. Not even friendship.
Behind the Canvas is a story with a great concept and characters that have some depth. Claudia loves art, but does not have confidence in her own work, or her ability to make friends. She is happy with time in an art museum with her art book and ideas. Pim is a boy stuck on the other side of the canvas. He says he was trapped there by a witch, but is that the whole truth? Discovering a world of art, quite literally, and having a life altering adventure helps Claudia discover her own strengths and talent in a way she never would have otherwise. I liked that friendship, intelligence, and trusting your instincts were more important than physical strength, numbers, or just about anything else. I really enjoyed the read. I will admit that as the story progressed I rather wanted things to move along a little quicker. However, there was lots of action and death defying moments at that point, so I think that was more a product of my mental to do list of books I needed to read and review next rather than any actual lack in the storytelling.