The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver is a fairly typical fantasy quest story for middle grade readers.
When Liza's brother's soul is stolen by the Spindlers, evil spider-like creatures who live Below, Liza knows that she is the only one who can save him. Armed with only a broom, she crawls through a hole in her basement wall and finds herself in an underground world populated by various magical creatures. She is immediately befriended by Mirabella, a rat who is trying desperately to look human, and who promises to lead her to the Spindlers' lair. Liza must face many dangers in order to rescue her brother's soul and escape back to her own world.
This book is fairly strong on writing, but rather weak in plot and creativity. There are just a lot of juvenile fantasy books out there about the quest to save a missing/stolen/trapped sibling, and a book has to be truly unique to rise above the herd. This one will be enjoyable enough for young readers, with their fresh outlook and ravenous appetite for anything in the genres they enjoy, but it left me feeling like a jaded grown-up reader who needs to take a little break from this type of story before trying again.
(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)