This book is a sparkling jewel. The narrative voice is funny and distinct, a lot like Lemony Snickett, but less pompous and less grating. The plot is a lot like Roald Dahl, with completely outlandish and impossible events and talking mutant animals and magic elixirs. Yet the narrator and the main character Liberty are both somehow compelling enough that these impossibilities are easy to imagine and believe.
Liberty has two super awful parents and the only way she has managed to cope with their abuse is by reading her way through a library of books that she found hidden in her house. Although he is pure evil, her father is also a "friggin genuis". Liberty manages to escape from her parents by breaking into her father's secret laboratory and drinking some of his potions. She has never been outside of her house and must use her own incredible wits and her new friendships in order to avoid capture.
One of the potions that she steals lets her talk with animals. She befriends a street cat and a pigeon. The other potion makes her float up into the sky. In addition to the animals she also makes a couple of human friends as she searches for a private school that she read about once, where she imagines she will finally be happy. I can think of lots and lots of kids who would enjoy reading this book.