My Love Letter to the KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES Series by Shannon Messenger

My Love Letter to the KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES Series by Shannon Messenger

There aren’t many book characters that I’ve grown up with along with the publishing of the series.


For a lot of people, the series that would fulfill that would be the Harry Potter series. Even though Harry Potter is the biggest series of my childhood, I started reading it just before the seventh book came out. As an elementary school student, I had already read about Harry’s experience as a sixteen-year-old. That’s a huge age gap between me as an teeny tiny child and the characters within Harry Potter — and that’s why I can’t necessarily say that I’ve grown up with the characters within the Harry Potter series.

Thus, Keeper of the Lost Cities series by Shannon Messenger has a very special place in my heart for being the first series I read that I grew up with along with the characters. It’s a little bit sad that I’ve outgrown the characters now (seriously, why are Sophie and her gang of friends aging so slowly? Is it the Elvin genes? It has to be the Elvin genes. 😆), but nevertheless, I still feel like I’m maturing and discovering more about my world as the characters in the KOTLC series are maturing as well.


And isn’t that all you can really ask for in a series? 😊


The mysteries, characters, and world-building in the KOTLC series are all memorable, yes, but that’s not even close to the reason why I am filled with excitement every year when the next book of the series comes out. Every time I glimpse the KOTLC series on my bookshelves, or open the books once again to reread, I’m filled with an enormous sense of nostalgia.

I found this series during the start of middle school. When I read the first and second books today, I’m transported back to a time when I was a different person in my wisdom, confidence, and dreams. I walked differently, talked differently, and dressed differently. I read to escape rather than appreciate the world around me, and I hadn’t written my 90,000 word book yet.

Reading the first and second books, in essence, makes me remember how far I’ve come in creating a life that I love. It’s sometimes easy for me to forget that the life I’m living now is one that I dreamed of having in the past when there’s so much that I’ve yet to accomplish, do, and experience, but reading my childhood favorites reminds me to take a step back and appreciate my present.



I found out about the existence of the Keeper of the Lost Cities series when I was in middle school. Back then, I spent hours roaming Barnes & Nobles every few weeks and left with a ridiculous amount of books each time. It was either that, or I would go to the library and check out thirty books at once. 😅 (Yes, I got stares every time. I did finish reading most — if not all — of the books I checked out though! Ah, the amount of free time I had back then… 😋)

On a shelf that featured new releases, the second book of KOTLC caught my eye — the cover was shiny and awash in my favorite color, aquamarine, and the detail of Sophie and Keefe on the cover made me pause, if only to appreciate the art.



I took the book off the shelf and read the very vague (but intriguing) synopsis of the story. I figured that Exile was the second book of a series, so I went to find the first book. I used to have this process where I would carry books around with me for at least half and hour as I walked around the bookstore so I could think about whether I really wanted to buy the books or not, but eventually I put down all the other books I had picked up and bought the first two books from the KOTLC series.

If I didn’t discover KOTLC that day in Barnes & Nobles, I think a lot of things would be different in my life.

I got my friends to read it, and suddenly we had inside jokes for every situation possible relating to the characters, places, and themes from KOTLC. I improved my skills drawing faces by looking at Jason Chan’s art (he’s the guy behind all the KOTLC covers!) and observing how to draw faces at different angles. And, of course, I had fun judging the development of the character relationships throughout this series. 😊



I’m not sure if I would be so in love with this series if I had suddenly stumbled upon it today. I love this series because of the memories of childhood fun and my love of fantasy books back then, as well as the reminder it brings for me to appreciate my present more because time passes by so quickly. My childhood has been slipping away from my fingers like sand being pulled back by waves to float in the cold and unrelenting ocean, and I won’t be a teenager for long, either.

Reading a book from the KOTLC series is like getting a glimpse into my life back when I was a young girl who knew so many things about this world… and still knew so little.

Opening one of these books is like having an explosion of childhood memories wash through my mind. This, I think when I reread the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth books, embodies a time of before.

I didn’t have this blog back then. I didn’t know how to do calculus or chemistry, or that I would be able a run a mile under seven minutes and thirty seconds. My worries and dreams in the past, as well, seemed to lie on the opposite end of the world compared to the ones I have today. College seemed like eons in the future, and despite every adult telling me that my years in middle and high school will pass by like that (accompanied with a snap of their fingers 👏), I still couldn’t grasp how quickly time would pass.

I now know that time passes by very, very quickly, and that it’s up to me to use it and enjoy the best I can.

And now, with the recent release of the sixth book of the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Nightfall, I’m reminded of all these moments in my childhood attached to reading this series. I might be an immensely different person compared to the me who picked up Exile at Barnes & Nobles years ago, but it doesn’t mean that I can no longer enjoy this series.


I’m excited to be able to read this story with a new set of eyes, with more knowledge about the world and how relationships between people work, and see how my newly-gained education and wisdom will change my understanding of this lovable and lovely series. 😊💕


Shannon Messenger was one of the first authors I met that I absolutely adored, and I’m so happy to see the KOTLC series continue to grow. Honestly, I hope this series never ends (or go until Book #100 for a minimum length 😆), but for now, I’ll just write this love letter to the KOTLC series and excitedly read Nightfall when I’m able to get a copy of it.

(I tried to get a copy of Nightfall as soon as it came out, but I made the mistake of not pre-ordering and now it’s all sold out in bookstores!!! *sobs* 😭 I guess this will help me improve my patience?? 😇)


Before you leave,

Remember to



📚 What are your childhood favorite books and series? What feelings surface when you reread one of your favorite childhood books? Have you written a love letter to your favorite book/series before? And are you a fan of KOTLC? Tell me in the comments below! 😋


To wrap this post up, here are two lovely pictures of Shannon Messenger’s signature on the front cover page for Neverseen and Lodestar! 😍😊




I love those lines she wrote along with her signature because they make total sense if you’ve read the book. 😄 Anyways, I hope you enjoyed reading this love letter to KOTLC, and have an amazing rest of your day! 🤗



This book chat is part of Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday meme. You can find her blog @ Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe, though currently the host is Greg Pattridge. His blog can be found @ Always in the Middle. Thanks for the feature!

14 thoughts on “My Love Letter to the KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES Series by Shannon Messenger”

  • I bought the first three of these for my younger sister last christmas – she was 7, which is a little young, for these. She never tried to read them, though, so I stole them back and have them on one of my shelves to read before I give them back to her! I had no idea there were more than the three I got in the boxed set. Thanks for this cute flashback on your life and, since I am new to your blog, I just saw you wrote a 90,000 word novel?!? Congratulations. That is incredible. I should probably go try to find out if you are in college already or not, but if you are not – I recommend checking out the UC Santa Barbara Writing and Literature program in the College of Creative Studies there. Idk, you could be 30 for all I know about you at this point!

    • If you’re ever in the mood for an amazing middle-grade series, then read Keeper of the Lost Cities — I think you’ll love it. Thank you so much — yes, I have written a complete manuscript and I’m still in the process of editing it 😊 And no, I’m not in college yet, and I’m definitely not 30 😂 Thank you for the college recommendation and comment, Kailyn!

    • This series is actually really popular within the Middle Grade books community, and rightfully so because the story and characters and world-building is just so amazing 😍 I’m happy I was able to introduce this series to you, and maybe you can recommend it to any kids you meet looking for a book they can grow up with like people did with the Harry Potter series! 😄 Thanks for the comment! 😊📚

  • Oh, I love the KOTLC series!! I haven’t kept up with the latest books (haven’t read the last two books yet) but I definitely love the series. Like you said, I’m not sure if I would love this series if I read it now, since I’ve kinda moved up from Middle Grade to Young Adult books, but something about this series makes me so happy! The characters, the plot, the fantasy magical aspect of it… Plus your photos make it SO much more magical — I’m in awe of your ability to take amazing bookish photographs??? 😍 Great post!
    May @ Forever and Everly recently posted…Blogging Stats: A Ranty Discussion on the General View on Stats and How It’s Kind of… Wrong?? In My Opinion!My Profile

    • Oh thank you so much, May! I actually just got the sixth book, Nightfall, today, but I’m in more of a YA contemporary mood than a middle-grade fantasy mood right now, so I’ll probably read it later 😊 This series is just so magical and since I have such good memories attached to this series, it just makes reading it a hundred times better than it already is! And haha yes good bookish photos does make you want to read the books in the photos, right? (yay bookstagram for exploding my tbr… *sobs* 😆) I hope you get around to reading the rest of the KOTLC series! It only gets better as the series goes on, so I don’t think you’ll regret picking up the last few KOTLC books — especially if you’re into the shipping and plot twists that happens in this series. It just keeps getting more and more insane, honestly 😂

    • I’ve actually never read an Enid Blyton book myself, but I can definitely relate to reading Harry Potter. 😊 It’s nice to look back at these books and think about how much they’ve impacted our childhood 📚 Thanks for the comment, Rasya!

  • Oh my gosh, this is so beautifully written and I agree with everything you’ve said. KOTLC has also shaped me into the person I am today and I’ve aged with the characters. I also LOVE all your photos! They’re so pretty, are you a photographer?

    • I’m so happy to hear you share the same experience with KOTLC! Growing up with a series definitely makes it so much memorable 😄 And yes, I’m a photographer — I’ve recently gotten into taking aesthetic pictures of books instead of just travel pictures to go along with these bookish posts. 😋 Yay to loving everything to do with KOTLC, and thanks for the comment, Sue! 😊📚 (Can’t wait to read Nightfall!!! 💕)

  • Zoie,
    What a beautiful love letter to the Keeper of the Lost Cities series! I appreciated hearing your thoughts on what it has been like growing up with the books, because they’ve been published yearly. You’ve grown with the books, it sounds like. And you have met Shannon and have autographed books, which makes such an impact. I’m an adult and experience them from a different perspective. And, I finished NIGHTFALL last night and am still trying to process her brilliant story. Not ready to write a review, yet. There was so much action, surprises and one huge cliffhanger. Thank you for your thoughts!
    Patricia Tilton recently posted…Amanda in New Mexico by Darlene FosterMy Profile

    • Being able to read these books as they’ve been published and meeting Shannon Messenger has definitely made Keeper of the Lost Cities a very special collection of books for me. 😊 It makes me so happy to know that so many adults are reading KOTLC as well, and it inspires me to take a break reading textbooks, classics, nonfiction, and YA novels and pick up a middle-grade novel once in a while to read as well. Reading MG books brings back so many wonderful childhood memories of mine 💕 I hope to never forget about reading MG in the future when textbook-reading gets heavy for school! 😋

      I’m looking forward to read your review for Nightfall if you decide to write one for your blog, Patricia! I’ve heard similar feelings from people who have finished reading the book recently… meanwhile I’ll wait here in suspense until my copy comes 😆

  • These series become like forever friends to readers. I started the Keeper of the Lost Cities series as an adult and got hooked at once. Yes, I’m also a Harry Potter fan, but it was the Hardy Boys that jump started my love of books. I hope Shannon reads your letter!

    • Keeper of the Lost Cities seems like it appeals to people of all ages even though it’s a middle grade series 😄 Oh, and I’ve read a few of the Hardy Boys books too! That series has been around forever, like the Nancy Drew series. From what I’ve heard about people’s childhood favorites, it seems like book series are what gets people into reading rather than individual books. 📚 And if Shannon Messenger reads this post I would be so happy!! 😆🎉 Thanks for the comment, Greg!

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