Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty is the first book in a quirky YA fantasy series.

Madeleine ran away, but this time her mother came, too. Now the two of them live in gloomy Cambridge, far from the glamorous lifestyle they shared with Madeleine's father. Madeleine has made friends with Jack and Bella, two local teens, and they've finagled a haphazard system of homeschooling, spreading different subjects among the various adults they know. Madeleine sometimes misses her old life. Then, one day, she finds a mysterious letter slipped under a broken parking meter -- and she writes back.

Elliot lives in the kingdom of Cello, in the farmlands. In Elliot's world, rogue colors occasionally attack, which is what happened on the night Elliot's father disappeared. Of course, that doesn't exactly explain how Elliot's uncle was killed, or why the attractive high school physics teacher also disappeared. Elliot does not believe his father would run away with another woman, so he spends all of his time and energy searching for a way to trace his father and rescue him if he is being held somewhere against his will. In the meantime, time marches on, and there are other things demanding Elliot's attention -- the Deftball championship, for instance, and the Butterfly Child, and the Royal Progress, and the strange family who are renting his father's electronics shop. And, of course, the letters from a girl in The World that keep materializing in a sculpture one of his friends built . . .

This is an eclectic mix of elements that somehow manages to work, though it's perhaps a bit of a slow starter. The characters are complex and not always entirely reliable, and the convoluted plot and interesting use of colors reminded me a little bit of Jasper Fforde. I liked the way the story wrapped up, and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes next.

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)

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