Thursday, October 07, 2021

Middle-Grade/Teen Review: A Corner of White

One of my first audio books chosen for my annual fall R.I.P. Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge was A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty, a middle-grade/teen mystery fantasy. This is not my usual genre, but I thoroughly enjoyed this unique story with parallel narratives set partly in the real world and partly in a fantasy world, with many similarities to our world. I was engrossed in the story from beginning to end ... and I'm interested in reading the next book in the trilogy. 

In real-world present-day Cambridge, England, three young teens--Jack, Belle, and Madeleine--are homeschooled together and are friends. Their homeschool teachers include their parents, as well as some of their neighbors. Madeline and her mother live alone in a shabby apartment, and Madeleine is struggling to adjust to their new life. They used to be wealthy and travel all over the world to the most wonderful international cities, living a luxurious life. Then, Madeleine's father left, leaving them destitute, and now, she's beginning to worry about her mother's health, as she struggles with headaches and memory issues. Meanwhile, in a world called the Kingdom of Cello, in a farming town named Bonfire, a teen boy named Elliot is also living alone with his mother. Elliot's father is also missing from his life, but for a very different reason. His father and the local physics teacher both went missing on the same night that Elliot's uncle was found dead. There are two opposing theories in town: that Elliot's dad killed his brother and ran off with the teacher or that an attack of Purples killed his uncle and kidnapped the other two. In Cello, though their world is much like our own in some ways, colors are active forces that can change the weather, create natural disasters, or even, in the case of the violent Purples, kill and kidnap. Elliot, of course, believes this second theory and is determined to find his father. A small crack appears between the two worlds, and Madeleine and Elliot begin trading letters through it, though Madeleine thinks Elliot is a guy who plays too many video games and has made up an outrageous fantasy world. The two teens, both with missing fathers, continue to communicate with each other, as each tries to make sense of what is happening in their lives and find their fathers.

As I mentioned, I don't read a lot of fantasy, but when I do enjoy the genre, it is usually a story set in the real world with elements of fantasy or magic. This book hit that sweet spot for me, with its intertwined stories. I immediately came to care about Elliot and Madeleine (and the other kids in both worlds) and was rooting for both of them to solve the mysteries of the missing fathers. While this is listed as book 1 of 3, it comes to a very satisfying--and surprising--conclusion, while opening the door to the sequel. I was fully engaged in the story and there was plenty of suspense to keep me listening. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this original story on audio ... and though I don't read many series, I am interested in reading more about Madeleine and Elliot.

384 pages, Arthur A. Levine

Scholastic Audio

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. My review is my own opinion and is not influenced by my relationship with the publisher or author.


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  1. I loved this book, and the sequels. I had a tough time talking students into reading it, however. I could never figure out why since series were big among my readers. Glad you liked it, too.

    1. So glad to hear from someone else who knows and loves this series!

  2. Did you know Jacylyn is the sister of Liane Moriarty? Another of the sisters -Nicola, is an author too.

    1. I didn't know that! Someone asked me that question on one of my YouTube videos, so thanks! And I didn't know about Nicola either!