A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty
Book One of The Colors of Madeleine series
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Rating: 2 stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
The first in a rousing, funny, genre-busting trilogy from bestseller 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," whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses...
What I Liked:
The characters were likable. Elliot is interesting, as he is desperate to find his father, while trying to get his father's shop back, and capture a Butterfly Child. Madeleine is... weird. It seems like she is supposed to have some depth to her, but I found her a dry and boring protagonist. I really like Jack, because he is super sweet and empathetic. I was never a huge fan of Belle, but she contributed nicely to the story.
The contrast between the Kingdom of Cello and the real World is nicely written. I liked reading about Cello (even though I was very confused most of the time), because it was not what I expected. It's definitely not your typical kingdom. The Princess columns were... weird, but interesting.
What I Did Not Like:
I am going to be very honest: I was so confused throughout this entire book. I ALMOST did not finish this book, which is rare for me - once I start a book, no matter what, I finish it. I really did not understand what was what most of the time. I understand the difference between the two worlds, and that Madeleine and Elliot were communicating through a crack between the worlds. I understood that Madeleine is basically a nomad - she cannot stay in one place for very long. Or she is always running away, for attention? See, even that I do not understand. Why is she always running away? This is not really expounded upon in the novel. She has daddy issues? Her parents are never really invested in her, even though they are filthy rich? I feel like I can infer that, but I wish the author could have more subtly sneaked an explanation in there.
I really do not understand the "Colors" bit of Cello. So, they are monsters? Or are they colors that have an adverse affect on people? Are the people of Cello afraid of colors? What exactly are Colors?! Is it not clear, and therefore, every time there was a Color attack, I was extremely confused. What exactly do the Colors do? One type physically hurts people, another mentally hurts people. So, how does the whole Color thing work? I wish I knew.
I still don't understand the obsession with Newton, Byron, Lovelace, or whoever. So, do Jack and Belle believe in reincarnation? Or is that supposed to be some sort of character reference that just didn't make sense? A good portion of the book is spent harping on those historical figures, and I really do not understand the significance of them.
The ending kind of just flew in my face. There were so many elements of the book that needed to be wrapped up really quickly. This book really dragged on, and then the ending was like BOOM! So many things needed to be resolved in like, a couple of chapters.. It did not work for me. Elliot's father situation, Madeleine's mother, Madeleine's resolution with her father (which, by the way, I feel like we never really got), The Butterfly Child deal... it felt so rushed.
Romance: no love triangle - sort of. But, the romance was SO lacking in this book. From the last line of the synopsis, you'd think the romance would be dynamic and prominent, right? On Elliot's side AND Madeleine's side, not really. In fact, I don't really understand Elliot's romance, and there wasn't really a resolution to Madeleine's romance.
Finally (I could go on, but I won't), I was bored. A lot. It took me several attempts to continue reading, and to finish. The author's writing style is really dry, so I'm not really seeing how the publisher is saying that this book is "funny". Because I didn't really catch on to the humor. Which is sad.
Would I Recommend It:
Not really. I'm sorry, but this book is not for me. The protagonist is like, fourteen. Or fifteen. I think Elliot is fifteen, and Madeleine is fourteen. Or something like that. Either way, not mature enough for me.
2 stars. Not the best "fantasy" meets contemporary book out there. Definitely meant for tweens. I really can't understand how the overall rating for this book is so high! But that's just me.