Falling In is the not so quintessential story of a girl that doesn't fit in. Isabelle Bean ponders the beauty of dirt, doesn't like to shop with her mFalling In is the not so quintessential story of a girl that doesn't fit in. Isabelle Bean ponders the beauty of dirt, doesn't like to shop with her mother, considers spilled jam beauty marks, feels like she is always precariously standing on the edge of something new, and hears a consistent buzzing noise rising from the floor. Isabelle isn't crazy, it turns out she belongs in a different world! It is in this new world where she is able to make friends and understand that her daydreaming can be an asset. But she is soon given the difficult task of helping the people there overcome their fears and push herself to learn new skills to save children.
I think it's fascinating that this is Frances O'Roark Dowell's first foray into fantasy. Her characters grabbed my attention, I loved Isabelle's descriptive inner monologues, and her creative breaks in the action through the use of new chapters. It was all so innovative and fun! Unfortunately somewhere in the middle I think I became a little innovated and funned out, as I found myself skipping ahead. While I appreciated all the pieces that Ms. Dowell brought to the book and how these pieces made an inspired book, it also started to seem a bit same-y. On the bright side I was able to finish the book and was overall pleased with it until I realized there wouldn't be a sequel (weird huh? I've been looking for a great standalone book and once I've got it I'm disappointed that it is. That's another blog entry all together). I was overwhelmed with the thought, "But I still have questions!" Usually I'm OK with questions at the end, but for some reason with this book I really wanted it all wrapped up like a present. I think that this shows that while I might have lost a little faith in the middle, this book comes through in the end. At least it did for me. ...more
The Norumbegans and the Thussar were at war for many years before deciding there was a more civilized way to settle their territory dispute: play a gaThe Norumbegans and the Thussar were at war for many years before deciding there was a more civilized way to settle their territory dispute: play a game. Each race chooses a human to represent them in the Game, a kind of labyrinth. The winner of the Game creates a new labyrinth for the next players. In the first of this series, The Game of Sunken Places, Brian and Gregory have been chosen to participate in the Game that Gregory's cousin, Prudence, has created. Brian was representing the Numrumbegans and Gregory was representing the Thussar and the boys worked out that they really, really wanted the Norumbegans to win. What with the Thussar being kind of really evil.
Now, Brian and Gregory are hard at work creating the next round of the Game, when an alien tries to kill Brian. Something seems to have gone wrong. The Thussar have become tired of the Game, and seem to be going for straight invasion. But sneakily. Brian and Gregory try to contact Prudence to find out what's going on, but Prudence has disappeared without a trace. The boys head back to Vermont to search for her, and find that the invasion is already well underway.
This was not quite my cup of tea. I have not actually read The Game of Sunken Places, and maybe that would have helped. There was enough explanation to get a pretty good idea of what had happened in the first book, but perhaps I would have understood the characters better. As it was, Brian seemed like an indecisive wimp and Gregory was an attention seeking, whinny, pain in the behind. My biggest issue with the book was that the writing seemed kind of...amateur. It was choppy, dragging in some places, speeding ahead in others, and the boy's dialogue was awkward and unrealistic. Reading this book and comparing it to Octavian Nothing is a considerable contrast, although they were obviously written for very different audiences.
However, this would an excellent choice for middle school boys. It has action, adventure, quests, war, aliens doing gross things, and boy heroes. It would also be a good high-low choice for a high school boy reading at a middle school level. It's quite short and zips right along, ending on a cliff hanger so clearly another book is coming....more
You know that house down your street that everyone always knows about, refers to as "that house," and is just generally creepy? Olive has just moved iYou know that house down your street that everyone always knows about, refers to as "that house," and is just generally creepy? Olive has just moved into that house. Her brilliant (read dippy) mathematician parents are delighted with the architecture and the lighting of the library; Olive on the other hand is fascinated with the old clothes, glass medicine bottles, and the paintings - especially the paintings. She soon discovers that she can go into the paintings and interact with the subjects, but there's something menacing watching her. With all the information gleaned from a small scarecrow boy, a lovely young woman, and three talking cats, Olive doesn't know who she can trust or what the truth is. What she does know is that there's something coming after her, someone who doesn't welcome Olive and her parents into the house.
I really enjoyed this book. As I was reading, I kept comparing the atmosphere that West created with Neil Gaiman's Coraline. The book grabbed my attention and kept it, just when I thought the plot was going to fall into some overly done trope it took a bit of a turn and renewed my interest. That isn't to say that there weren't a few obvious plot twists, but given the overall awesomeness of the book it's easily forgiven. Needless to say, it took me about two hours to plow through the 235 pages of fast-paced adventure.
This book is coming out June 30th (though on West's website it lists the release date as June 15th), it's a series and I hope that the second follows quickly on the heels of this exciting first book. ...more
Not going to lie. I didn’t finish it. I didn’t have to though. I flipped around enough to confirm what I knew was going to happen happened. But reallyNot going to lie. I didn’t finish it. I didn’t have to though. I flipped around enough to confirm what I knew was going to happen happened. But really, should I expect more from a book based on a character from a sticker that promotes a skateboarding clothing line? I don’t think I should.
Ready? I’m going to spoil the book for you. If you don’t want it spoiled, stop reading now. I’m about to give it away. This is your last chance! ::SPOILER:: It turns out Emily didn’t duplicate herself at all! She split herself! So each part got some parts of her personality! One half of her is super evil and trying to destroy the world and kill the other half of her, which is not evil but just loves her cats and pranking and skateboarding! Now the not evil Emily has to figure out what zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh, I’m sorry. I drifted off. That’s enough for the spoiler. ::END OF SPOILER:: Right. So. Not Evil Emily was super dumb. How did she not figure this out? Maybe the Evil Emily got all the brains in the split. I don’t know. There’s nothing really redeeming about this book, aside from the fact that if you have reluctant readers who are familiar with the character, they might be into this ...more