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A Corner of White

(The Colours of Madeleine #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  4,251 ratings  ·  987 reviews
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 da
Hardcover, 375 pages
Published April 1st 2013 by Arthur A. Levine Books (first published September 18th 2012)
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Emma Salmon yeah I had a similar issue when I started reading it. It took me a few tries to get through this book, but it was so worth it. It quickly became one o…moreyeah I had a similar issue when I started reading it. It took me a few tries to get through this book, but it was so worth it. It quickly became one of my favourite book series. Highly recommend reading it if you can get through some of the confusing bits at the beginning.
Miriam Robarts I haven't read Wonder, but yes. Most of this book alternates perspective between two characters, and if I remember correctly, some narration & a littl…moreI haven't read Wonder, but yes. Most of this book alternates perspective between two characters, and if I remember correctly, some narration & a little from other characters as well.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  4,251 ratings  ·  987 reviews

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Start your review of A Corner of White (The Colours of Madeleine, #1)
Rating: 4.5 Stars

It always pains me to have to write a review for a book that I know very few others will truly come to love. I don't deny that there are those who will pick up A Corner of White and persevere on through its slow start to eventually like this book, but the amount of readers who will possibly enjoy that slow beginning, the way I did? Few and far between. Nevertheless, A Corner of White is a splash of color in a genre suffering from cliches; a genre where originality has become a t
Emily May
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy, 2013

When I was a little kid, I used to love Alice in Wonderland. I mean, it had a talking cat, a singing mouse and daily tea parties - what more could one possibly ask for? But what I saw strangely seemed to make less and less sense to me as I got older. The more I returned to that old story, the more the whimsical brilliance seemed to dim and be replaced with a random series of bizarre occurrences without any sense to them whatsoever. There is no real plot, the closest to anything of that kind
Trish Doller
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My pants have been thoroughly charmed right off of me. I'm pantsless now, Jaclyn Moriarty.
So, I am entirely blown away by this book. While reading, I had this little mantra chanting though my head, every other page: my gosh, Jaclyn is brilliant.

Truth: I have read A Corner of White twice in the space of one month. I also dreamt about it once <3

I believe: Jaclyn Moriarty is one of the most original, greatest Australian writers out there (past and present)

Oh, so you have NO IDEA what this book is about? The blurb is surreal and utterly intriguing. I was captured from the beginning, gorg
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a new to me author and I am very impressed. The book is absolutely charming, quirky, fun and most importantly very nicely written. I loved the idea of the crack between two worlds - not a unique idea I know, but handled here in a very clever way. I very much enjoyed Jaclyn Moriarty's skill at writing descriptive passages and her light touch with whimsy and magic. I am really looking forward to the next book to find out what happens! ...more

A Corner of White is the first book in a new series by Jaclyn Moriarty. It's a fantastic blend of Jaclyn's usual contemporary writing and a rich fantasy world. Fourteen year old Madeleine Tully and her mother, Holly, live in our world. They used to be rich and traveled all over the world but then Madeleine ran away from home again and this time her mother came along, leaving her husband, and Madeleine's father, behind. Elliot Baranski, aged fifteen, lives in the Kingdom of Cello, an alternate wo
Renee Thomas
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magical-realism
As I do so love to create these comparisons, I shall proudly state that I found Jaclyn Moriarty’s A Corner of White to be the book baby that would result from John Green and Neil Gaiman coming together to write a novel. And trust me, this is a compliment indeed!
Whitley Birks
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013, almost-good
So, let’s talk about why this book didn’t work.

There’s actually a lot of reasons why, most of them small and rather ignorable. Having a cast of identically ‘quirky’ characters is rather bland, but to a reader who likes their quirk, it’s enjoyable and ultimately harmless. And if a few concepts here and there aren’t explained well enough to actually understand them, well, sometimes that’s okay, too.

No, the problem with A Corner of White is the plot.

The absolute, utter, total, complete lack of a pl
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
That was incredible! I read this all in one sitting because I was so intrigued by the Kingdom of Cello and it's quirky characters affected by Colours who invade them.

While I found it a bit info dumpy at the start, I couldn't put it down when Elliott and Madeleine started writing letters to each other from modern day England to the fantasy world of Cello. They really formed a connection with each other based on their curiosity with the world and wanting to connect to a like-minded soul.

I adored
Kate Forsyth
I often tweet about a book while I’m reading it.

My tweets about ‘A Corner of White’ include ‘extraordinary, beautiful, startling’; ‘one of the most original and unusual books I’ve read in a long time’; and ‘I’m in awe’.

It is certainly unlike any other book I’ve ever read.

‘A Corner of White’ is basically a story about parallel words – our own familiar world - and another far different and yet strangely familiar place, the Kingdom of Cello.

A crack opens up between these two worlds, and a letter s
In all likelihood this 'review' of mine will not turn out to be a helpful contribution for those who are still on the fence concerning their own possible future enjoyment of A Corner of White. I assume it will rather represent a futile attempt at explaining my wholly unexpected decision to let go of the story after only 145 pages without having unearthed particularly annoying or offending or even mediocre aspects that would lend a sufficient foundation to my reluctance to pick up the beautifully ...more
Karen ⊰✿
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uno_2019
What a joy to read. This has been on my list for years and I really should have cracked it open long ago.
Told between alternating POVs of Madeline Tully in Cambridge, England, "The World" ; and Elliot Baranski in Bonfire, the Kingdom of Cello ; we learn about these characters and their family/friends as they learn about each other through letters shared in a crack between these worlds.

The Kingdom of Cello is fascinating with its"colour attacks", Butterfly Child and missing people while Madelin
This ended up being less of a review and more of a love letter to Jaclyn Moriarty. Oops.

I have been a huge fan of Jaclyn Moriarty since I read Finding Cassie Crazy (released in the US as The Year of Secret Assignments) in high school. I immediately fell for her strong, quirky characters (especially Seb–probably my most longstanding YA crush), her talent for writing epistolary novels and the way she skilfully weaves plot threads to bring you to that ‘Wow I didn’t see that coming!’ moment. I didn’
Steph Su
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Jaclyn Moriarty and her epistolary novels were some of my favorites in my pre-blogging years. Did her latest offering live up to my now-admittedly-quite-jaded demands for quality fiction? A day after closing the book with a contented sigh, I am happy to say: yes, yes it did.

14-year-old Madeleine Tully and her mother are living in Cambridge, England after running away from her father and their former glamorous life. When Madeleine spies a piece of paper peeking out from a random parking meter and
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, this was fascinating and very, very different. I heard about this book several years ago, saw it on a couple of Best Of lists, added it to my bookshelf, which is really full and etc. Last year I figured out that she was Liane Moriarty's sister, and that sparked my interest again, because their books look SO different.

Anyway, read this one, REALLY liked it. The world of Cello was truly inventive and the way Madeleine and Elliot communicated, and the similarities and differences in their live
Branwen Sedai *of the Brown Ajah*
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone! Everyone!
**Edit: Third time re-read

*Edit: Second time re-read

"We must think outside of overselves, Madeleine. Live for others, not just yourself. If you do not learn this thing, people will give up on you. You only get so many chances."

Madeleine and Elliot are two teenagers who have both have problems that they need to solve. Madeleine has recently moved to Cambridge with her mother and she desperately yearns for the life they left behind. Elliot's father has been missing for quite some time and he is de
Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

As usual, when it comes to a Jaclyn Moriarty book, I find myself not knowing if I have the right words to express the awesomeness.

BUT I WILL TRY, dear readers, just for you.

I just don’t know where exactly do I begin as there is so much to unpack in terms of characterisation, narrative, world-building, setting, themes.

Maybe literally with: “where”.


The World: our world, more specifically Cambridge, England. This is where Madeleine Tully lives with her m
I love Jaclyn Moriarty’s writing. I may not always love her books but her writing is superb. She has this way of linking words, thoughts and pictures that is seamless, beautiful and sometimes heartrending. When I heard that Moriarty was writing a new book, I was happy. I did a happy dance to prove my happiness and it was okay, because no one could see me dancing. And that’s how I like it.

I picked up an ARC of this book at ALA but Scholastic Canada sent me a complimentary review copy, a finished
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-review, arcs
Review originally posted in:

I think the cover reflects the story quite well. I love how the cover has the crack that represents the gap between the two different worlds and the colourful rainbows and background!


Would you live in The Kingdom of Cello......or The World?

Before A Corner of White, I have never read anything by Jaclyn Moriarty. I have seen her books around but at that time, I did not know that she is an Australian author and that he
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-read, 3-donated
An unexpectedly sweet and riveting read, A Corner of White follows two teenagers in vastly different worlds, who find solace and comfort in one another amidst their problems. The book is a rich, comforting blend of superbly written contemporary fiction and well realised fantasy – resulting in a unique read that will undoubtably appeal to many readers.

Madeline and her mother have run away from her father and now live in Cambridge, a far cry from their previous lives where they had all the comfort
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
A Corner of White certainly defies genre classification. The entire plot, such as it is, follows the letters between a boy from the fantasy Kingdom of Cello and a girl from real-life Cambridge.

Or does it? If a fantasy world exists, doesn't that make the entire book fantasy, including seemingly real-life Cambridge? What is fantasy, anyway? It can be characterized by a good vs. evil conflict, and I can't say anything like that exists in this novel. The troubles in the Kingdom of Cello are mostly g
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2/5 stars
Okay so I was going to rate this book higher but I just couldn't.

I skimmed a lot of this book, I didn't really care about the chapters about Jack and Belle. I warmed up to Madeline a little bit but I still felt like I knew nothing about her.
However, I did really like Elliot, he seemed so sweet and actually cared about other people.

I would have liked for the whole Colours thing to be explained a little bit more, most of the time I was a bit confused.
The only part I did like was readi
Aliena Jackson
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing! I loved it so much! It was creative, and the magic system was fun! I can’t wait to dig into the second book!
Sarah Marie
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers looking for something different
Recommended to Sarah Marie by: Keertana
A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

First in The Colors of Madeline trilogy

4 stars

Madeline and her mother have run away from her life to Cambridge. Elliot is in search of his father in the Kingdom of Cello. Elliot’s story is much more complex than Madeline’s. His family is the talk of his little farming town called Bonfire. Elliot’s father may have killed his uncle and ran away with his Physics teacher and Elliot refuses to believe that. He searches high and low in the Kingdom of Cello hoping t

Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

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
Source: ARCycling

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 Cambri
I love the books that get such wildly different responses - when it's from friends or people followed, at any rate. This one got them from me, which is a bit less fun. I won't even attempt coherent review, especially as it's been so many months. A few general points instead. I thought the sections in Cello were far more enjoyable, as Madeleine's unreliable narrative and what seemed an overabundance of whimsy didn't quite work for me. I love what Beth says about the two kingdoms in her review, al ...more
Oct 08, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a human drama and a (sort of) coming of age story of troubled teens. It could have worked if the author kept it at that, but we also have two different worlds connected by said teens through letter-writing, and this confuses the story no end.

As far as characters go, Madeleine is a secretly sciencey, mysterious girl. She was rich, but she and her mother ran away from her father and are now poor. Madeleine is kind of an obnoxious know-it-all in her preachy 'advice' to Elliot, while simult
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
4.5 stars!
Cassandra Page
A Corner of White a parallel world story  (partly set in our world and partly in a fantastical other world -- think Alice in Wonderland or, well, a bunch of other books). But it's even more of a parallel world story than usual, in that the main characters, Madeline and Elliot, live very similar lives. Both live away from their fathers and are missing them. Both come to see what they believe are problematic elements of their fathers in their own personalities. Both of them are dissatisfied with t ...more
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A character-driven contemporary fantasy that kept me guessing all the way through. It reminded me a little of The Magician by Lev Grossman, as this author also played around with fantasy conventions and subverted my expectations of where the story would go. Much of the magic revolves around a very original take on colour. I was enamoured with the Kingdom of Cello and look forward to reading more.
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Jaclyn Moriarty is an Australian writer of young adult literature.

She studied English at the University of Sydney, and law at Yale University and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD.

She is the younger sister of Liane Moriarty. She was previously married to Canadian writer Colin McAdam, and has a son, Charlie. She currently lives in Sydney.

Other books in the series

The Colours of Madeleine (3 books)
  • The Cracks in the Kingdom (The Colours of Madeleine, #2)
  • A Tangle of Gold (The Colours of Madeleine, #3)

News & Interviews

Are you having a difficult time reading these days? If so, you're not alone. Since the pandemic began, I've found it harder to concentrate on...
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“This is what I want you all to do. I want you to open a new document and type up a list of three problems in your life. Not the universe's life - your own. Underneath, type the solutions."

"If we know the solutions," said Belle, "they're not problems."

"Exactly," said Denny. "You do know the answers to most of your problems. Somewhere deep inside, you know.”
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