The Medallion of Auratus by Carolyn Enting
This is a perfectly crafted novel for children, with an edge of realism even while the main characters are plunged into a fantastical faraway world. Sam Donnelly has been sent to stay with his aunt over the school holidays as his mother is extremely sick. His twin cousins are bullies, so life becomes most unpleasant. But when he finds a gold medallion at the beach, it is the start of a wild adventure, with his friend Jackson along for the ride, as they are plunged into another realm.
Jackson and Sam are appealing characters, children to really care for. I also loved the palpable sense of adventure and the imaginative creatures that the children met on their travels. This is a riveting read, and I hope there will be more from this talented author in the future.