August 19, 2013

Monday Review: A CORNER OF WHITE by Jaclyn Moriarty

Reader Gut Reaction: You all must know by now that I'm a huge Jaclyn Moriarty fan. Even as her books get more surreal (The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie) and more magical-realistic (The Spell Book of Listen Taylor) I'm willing to go along for the ride, and I always end up coming out the other side either wishing I could live in that world or wishing I'd written the book myself. With A Corner of White, Moriarty continues along the surreal path, leaving the reader questioning what's real and what isn't at every turn, yet hoping against hope that it's all true. And THIS reader was inordinately glad to find out it's only Book One, because the questions that get answered at the end of the book only lead to further questions, and because I really did not want to leave these characters behind.

Concerning Character: At first, you aren't quite sure what's real. Madeleine clearly lives in the real world, in Cambridge, England. But Elliot, who lives in the Kingdom of Cello? We read about him as though he is real, but is he, truly? Is he an invention? A fiction? How can a world where colors take sentient form be actual? Because Madeleine and Elliot are connected with one another, able to communicate through notes left in a parking meter, a portal from one universe to another. Madeleine doesn't quite believe it, while Elliot is the more credulous one...but both characters are real and solid and believable, regardless. And they have to make that leap of faith, each about the other one's existence, in order to deal with their troubles, to reach out and connect. Very profound, when you think about it. As always, I adore every single one of Moriarty's characters, which are drawn with her usual humor and quirkiness. Even the ones who aren't quite as likeable--and there are some--demand your attention. I hope to create characters even half as memorable.

Recommended for Fans Of...: Books about alternate universes, that make you question what's real and right in front of you. Fans of Diana Wynne Jones, I think, would really like this one, especially if you liked the Howl's Moving Castle books.

Themes & Things: Even with all the shiny things in this book--alternate universes and their intriguing differences, for instance--there are core themes that make the story itself solid, not just bells and whistles. Friendship, and what it means to trust others, help them, allow them to help you. Family, and how deep those bonds go, and how far you'll go to keep those bonds alive. Who you are at your core, independent of the trappings of your own world or any remnants of your past that you might cling to, and how it is you define that elusive sense of self. There is a ton of depth here, and the book's structure and unique slant serve to highlight that depth rather than distract from it, in my opinion. Another fabulous read from one of my favorite YA authors.

Review Copy Source: Library.

You can find A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty online, or at an independent bookstore near you!


tanita✿davis said...

Glad you liked it; I did, too. It was something I was unable to stop reading.

Sarah Stevenson said...

Oh, shoot, I forgot to check if we'd already posted about this one. Trying to catch up on a review backlog...anyway, I was riveted, too! Can't wait for Book 2.

Charlotte said...

I liked this one lots too! I was awfully doubtful about the whole colors thing, but was drawn in...and then liked it, which was very nice for me.

Sarah Stevenson said...

Yes, the colors thing could have been really NOT good, but I love how she handled it. It wasn't too intrusive, which helped, I thought.