Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Colorless and Fading Away...

A Corner of White

Expected Publication:  April 1st, 2013'
A Corner of White (The Colors of Madeleine # 1)
By: Jaclyn Moriarty
Arthur A. Levine Books
ISBN-13:  9780545397360

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," whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses...

     Madeleine and her Mom have moved away from her Dad, to a new life in Cambridge.  Everything is strange and colorless to her, and her Mom is acting sick and lost, sewing for a living when her only job used to living as a rich socialite with no worries.  Elliot has been searching for his Father for almost a year - ever since him, and a female teacher from Elliot's school went missing.  That happened the same day that Elliot's Uncle John died under mysterious circumstances.  Both of the teenagers are dealing with family issues and complicated friendships, but there is one big difference between them - Madeleine is living in the 'real' world and Elliot is living in Cello, a magical kingdom where colors are dangerous and there are hostile, anti-royalists causing major problems.  When Madeleine discovers a letter crammed into a parking meter and responds on a whim (not believing anything Elliot says, of course) they inadvertently become pen pals.  Carrying each other through some of their most difficult times, Madeleine and Elliot learn the true definitions of friends, family, life, and love.  But when each of them are in mortal danger, can the other find a way to come to the rescue from the other side of the barrier?  I felt like this book was a really odd patchwork of things that didn't quite fit together the right way.  Moriarty's Ashbury/Brookfield series is one of the few Australian teen writings that I can read through, let along like - and I love it very much! But this felt like she was trying to merge the wonderfulness of her realistic, contemporary books written in correspondence, with some very innovative magical world building/writing.  It did not work AT ALL for me as a reader.  It took forever for anything to happen to Madeleine, because it seemed like the majority of the action and focus was going on in Cello, where Elliot was living.  Madeleine's bratty and totally unsympathetic attitude didn't help.  The revelations about her Father and her friends came a little too late for me to connect with her sympathetically as a character.  Elliot was the one I connected with most, but I never felt like I had a good grasp on what was going on in his world.  The color attacks still baffle me and make absolutely no sense whatsoever.  By the time I reached the end of this novel (it took me 3 weeks to slog my way through, when my average is a couple of days!) I was completely disgusted, bored and just glad to be done with it.  I think a lot of people will really like it, needless to say it but I wasn't one of them.  I can't in good conscience completely bomb its rating, when the world building for Cello was halfway decent.
VERDICT:  1/5 Stars
*received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is April 1st, 2013.*

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