Summary:The characters were delightful, a perfect fit for my love of the quirky and precocious, but the plot didn't grab me.
"When Noel Bostock – agedSummary: The characters were delightful, a perfect fit for my love of the quirky and precocious, but the plot didn't grab me.
"When Noel Bostock – aged ten, no family - is evacuated from London to escape the Blitz, he ends up living in St Albans with Vera Sedge - thirty-six and drowning in debts and dependents. Always desperate for money, she's unscrupulous about how she gets it. Noel's mourning his godmother, Mattie, a former suffragette. Brought up to share her disdain for authority and eclectic approach to education, he has little in common with other children and even less with Vee, who hurtles impulsively from one self-made crisis to the next. The war's thrown up new opportunities for making money but what Vee needs (and what she's never had) is a cool head and the ability to make a plan. On her own, she's a disaster. With Noel, she's a team." (Source)
The characters absolutely make this book. Both Noel and Vee are very quirky, unique characters. Noel is my favorite. I always love precocious children in books and I can relate to the way he doesn't quite fit in with his classmates. His smart observations often made me laugh. I also admired his intellectual curiosity and his unwillingness to back down when he decides something is the right thing to do. Noel has a good heart and as Vee grew to care for him, I started to care about her too. She was slightly less sympathetic than Noel, since she's old enough to know that some of their plans aren't morally acceptable. I still enjoyed getting to know her and all her quirks though.
For me, the plot fell short of the characters. I did appreciate that this wasn't a side of WWII I'd seen before. It was a refreshing reminder that there will always be new stories to discover! However, I never felt worried about the characters' safety. I kept reading because I wanted more time with the characters, not because I felt any drive to find out what happened next. There was very little urgency. Objectively, there were exciting things that happened, but I felt too convinced that everything was going to work out neatly to worry. I can't put my finger on anything specific about the writing that prevented me from worrying more though. It's possible the disconnect with the plot was just me. Either way, I had fun with this book and I would recommend it to fans of quirky characters or precocious children and to anyone looking for a novel story about WWII.
This story had a lot of elements I enjoy. I got to learn a lot about careers in and related to baseball, which I knew nothing about going in. The funThis story had a lot of elements I enjoy. I got to learn a lot about careers in and related to baseball, which I knew nothing about going in. The fun facts and statistics were interesting throughout. And the underdog story is heartwarming in way that I think will appeal to nearly everyone. Unfortunately, all of these topics were covered in a very shallow way.
I finished this book wanting more of everything. I wanted more explanation of how baseball works. I wanted the details of the statistics and player selection, which were a critical part of the story but weren't explained in much detail. I also wanted a more cohesive plot. The story in the book jumped around in time a lot and didn't have a strong focus. Although this was an enjoyable read, it would have been nice if the author had picked at least one of these areas - baseball, stats, or story - to focus on or better yet given more attention to all three. Having finished this, I'm very excited to watch the movie, because I anticipate that the movie will pull together the great plot hiding in this book.This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey....more