"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Friday, August 2, 2013

Review: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

     This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world).
     Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot's dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth.
     As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds -- through an accidental gap that hasn't appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called "color storms;" a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the "Butterfly Child.- from the publisher
Do you remember the children's book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs? Well, A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty reminds me of that book. In a good way. Cloudy is such an inventive book with food raining down from the sky in its proper order and then everything goes wrong and the food comes in the wrong order or without condiments.  It always made me laugh when I read it to my children.  In A Corner of White we are introduced to two teens, Madeleine in Cambridge and Elliot in the land of Cello. In Cello goofy things happen with the weather, too.  Summer might only last for a day followed by one day of winter. Everyone is attuned to the city bells that warn them that a color attack is imminent causing people to dash indoors and shudder their windows.  Purple attacks are so bad they can actually kill a person.

Madeleine doesn't believe that Elliot really lives in another world but Elliot has figured out that they are actually communicating across a crack between the worlds. If anyone knew about it in his world, he would be executed, but he persists in sending notes to Madeleine nonetheless. As the story unfolds shared advice helps the other person in their world. This is a story of two kids helping each other live in their own worlds Just when you think that all is well for our co-protagonists a plot twist prepares us for a second volume in this trilogy.

I dare you to read this book identify just one genre...it could be realistic fiction until the yellows attack. Perhaps fantasy since the butterfly child is a lot like a fairy. There is a mystery going on in both worlds. And although I haven't described it, there is even a bit of romance. I liked the book a lot even though I am still scratching my head over it.  I'm not the only one who likes this book. Here are a few other reviews from commentators:
Moriarty is the queen of epistolary stories, and her fans will find the teens' letters a familiar entree into this highly unusual fantasy. Like Madeleine, readers will be initially baffled by, but will ultimately believe in, Elliot's world. Moriarty's story comes across as matter-of-fact yet curious, topped off with a strong dose of humor). As always, her irresistible characters help readers navigate a tantalizingly complex plot that will leave them eagerly awaiting the next book.--- Jennifer M. Brabander, Horn Book
 Moriarty's trademark wit and whimsy are on full display, with zingy dialogue that feels right if not entirely realistic and bizarre characters living unexpected lives that manage to be mundane and delightful at the same time. By the end, Madeleine's story feels somewhat resolved, but Elliot's has turned an unexpected corner that will bring their worlds much closer and bring readers more mystery and humor in the next volume. Quirky, charming, funny, sad: another winner from this always-surprising author.---Kirkus Reviews
Oh, I forgot to mention. A Corner of White won a 2013 Horn Book-Boston Globe Honor Award for YA fiction. More evidence why this book deserves your attention.

30 books this Summer Reading Challenge

19 / 30 books. 63% done!

1 comment:

  1. Aghghhh I want to read this book so badly! It also seems VERY different from Moriarty's previous books. It'll be interesting to see how I feel about that, as I adore Finding Cassie Crazy (I keep forgetting the American title), but I imagine her writing has greatly evolved in the decade (probably a decade?) since that came out.


I look forward to your comments and interactions! Join in the conversation.