Mock Newbery 2023 discussion

Book of the Month 2012 > November Read - Breadcrumbs

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message 1: by Kristen (last edited Nov 02, 2011 07:16AM) (new)

Kristen Jorgensen (sunnie) | 576 comments Mod
Breadcrumbs has had some wonderful reviews. Yet there are some that claim it fell a little short, both in the ending and content. Does her writing style strike you as distinctive or is it just standing on the shoulders of other author's literary greatness?

message 2: by Suzy (new)

Suzy (suzy_farmingdale) | 39 comments I thought the writing was terrific and I loved all the quite subtle references to other fantasy novels (which will sail over the heads of 95% of the targeted readership) But the fantasy itself felt a bit convoluted and ... the tone of the story is so sad. It felt like the entire novel was shrouded in depression. Gave it to my 11-year-old fantasy reader and she could not get through it. I think it's one of those children's novels that will be best appreciated by adults who love children's literature.

message 3: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla (peafinch) | 3 comments I think the story lost itself. The focus was unclear--was this a quest--was this a metaphor for adolescence--was this about friendship, identity, loneliness? The landscape prevailed in the second half of the book--no doubt the result of the Snow Queen's dominion over hearts and minds, but I was left out in the cold on this one.

message 4: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Jorgensen (sunnie) | 576 comments Mod
Critics have attacked the ending, but I wasn't bothered by it. Did anyone think the ending was lacking compared to the rest of the story?

message 5: by Christina (new)

Christina | 10 comments I loved the first half of the book about Hazel's changing relationships, but my interest in the story waned halfway through when Hazel entered the fantasy world of the Snow Queen to save her friend Jack. The book left mostly loose ends -- both in the modern and fantasy worlds. Too many minor characters from other fairy tales made brief appearances in the second half of the book only to disappear at the end of the chapter. Most of all, I was confused that the Snow Queen relinquished her hold on Jack so easily. I was expecting Hazel to have to outsmart her or do something clever to break her hold on Jack. I also expected Adelaide and her uncle to be a greater force in the plot.

message 6: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (hilarylombardo) | 26 comments I had the opposite reaction as Christina! I labored through the first part and felt like it dragged on. Then the second part I read in an afternoon. I really enjoyed the Hans Christen Anderson fantasy world, BUT I also felt that it was a little underdeveloped and I wanted to see more of it. I also felt there where too many loose ends. What happened to the little match girl? And the boy with his bird sister? What was the deal with all the potions and powders in the market? What is going to happen with Hazel and Jack's relationship in real life? Why did Hazel's father leave? What's the deal with that? Okay, I could go on and on...
I also wasn't compelled by Hazel. I felt that I was told that she was a lively and imaginative girl, but I didn't see it in her actions and persona. I didn't really feel a connection with her or with her relationship to Jack.
As far as the ending, I had to grab a copy of the snow queen and peruse it really quickly, to remember what the ending was like in the original tale. I to felt that it was waaaay to easy for Hazel to "defeat" the snow queen. It turns out that it was pretty easy for the girl in the original tale to "defeat" the snow queen as well. I guess I wasn't as bothered with that aspect of the ending as I was with the loose ends.
I would vote no for the Newbery based on the fact that there seemed to be a lot more story there then was told and the fact that I felt the character development fell a little short.

message 7: by Denise (new)

Denise | 6 comments I just finished Breadcrumbs. While I did enjoy the journey, I felt it got boggled down. As was mentioned above, the first part, telling about Hazel and Jack moved along quite well, but about half way through the story began to bog down and felt disjointed to me, with no continuity. While I don't consider it to be Newbery quality, the committee has made surprising choices in the past.

message 8: by Annette (new)

Annette | 19 comments I finally finished Breadcrumbs. I am definitely in the minority because there was not one part of this book that I liked. There was WAY too much going on in the first part: Hazel is adopted, her parents are divorced and her absent father is remarrying, she had to change schools where she doesn't fit in, her best friend doesn't like her anymore, she doesn't want to make new friends, she can't take ballet lessons and on and on and on. And since NONE of these issues were resolved or dealt with in any way, all of them were not necessary. Hazel still could have been an angsty, feeling left-out child with only half these sitations.

As for the second half fantasy world, it all felt a bit too contrived for me. The random appearance and disappearance of the fairy tale characters were too abrupt and didn't lend much to the story. For example the girl who couldn't stop dancing seemed irrelevant. At least the witch and the nice couple who turned girls into flowers were dramatic moments representing danger and keeping her from her quest. The dancing girl offered nothing.

Lastly, I know others thought the descriptions of the landscape were beautifully written and evocative. I got bored. It's cold and snowing - I got it - move on.

message 9: by Sarah (last edited Jan 02, 2012 03:19PM) (new)

Sarah (sassafrass) | 1 comments I agree with many of the above comments. I thought the language of Breadcrumbs was beautiful, yet the story lacked an emotional depth with the characters. Not to say it didn't have emotion, because the overall tone was desperately sad. It felt like many folktales often feel, focused on plot and setting-- the bones of the story; whereas the characters, as in many folktales, could almost be interchangeable. Though Hazel and Jack both had a backstory and were obviously affected by their parents' behavior, I never felt like I got to know them emotionally.

I wasn't sure why I didn't love "Breadcrumbs" until
after I finished reading "Bigger than a Breadbox", which also dealt with parental abandonment (divorce), as well as magic. Laurel Snyder let the reader in on Rebecca's innermost thoughts and secrets. Although the magic of the Breadbox was not as powerful as the dark magical world created in "Breadcrumbs", it was emotionally charged and made for a much more compelling read. Although I don't think "Breadbox" is a Newbery contender, I feel that it has more appeal and is much more accessible for the target age group.

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