Saturday, October 19, 2013

Review: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

A Corner of White
by Jaclyn Moriarty

Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 375
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication date: April 1, 2013
Suggested tags: young adult, fantasy

First in The Colors of Madeleine series. 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...

{ I received this as an ebook ARC from NetGalley. }

Wow. Wonderful. Beautiful. Unexpectedly so. I started A Corner of White expecting simply a fun fantasy, and while it certainly delivered on that, I was very pleasantly surprised to find it was so, so much more. It's a brilliant mix of so many things: it's unique, it's deep, it's real, it's whimsical, it's hilarious, it's tragic. It's reality and fantasy woven together, following Madeleine and Elliot as they both begin to believe in the existence of the other's world.

Madeleine lives in the real world, our world, and we follow her adventures and experiences (some fun and silly, some heartbreaking) with her mother and friends as she adjusts to a new life. Elliot lives in the Kingdom of Cello, and while it is a fantasy world, he deals with some very real and heavy issues of his own. I loved bouncing back and forth between their worlds and their stories, and when they began to connect with each other, it just became that much more exciting for me.

Perhaps my favorite thing about A Corner of White is Moriarty's writing. She's brilliant. Period. She has a playful, charming style that I absolutely loved. For example, this cute little descriptive bit:
"Everything on the table was white: cake plate, teacups, salt and pepper shakers. The teapot itself, also white, had a sort of attitude about it all: tall and fancy, its handle like a hand on a hip, spout curving up and over like a wave, like it was dead keen to get into your cup."
And the letters from the Princesses, Ko and Jupiter, were just great. I honestly smiled every time one of their letters popped up in the story. But Moriarty also has a serious side, giving the heavy scenes the solemnity and devotion they deserve. She creates beautifully lyrical lines, like this one that spoke right to my heart:
"She could, if she wanted, be a kite trailing a lantern. She could be the candlelit lantern itself. She could fly with the comets and stars."
For me, A Corner of White was an immersive experience - I got completely lost in Moriarty's worldbuilding of the Kingdom of Cello, of course, but I found I was also hooked on the slow unfolding of Madeleine and Elliot's discovery of each other, discussing the events in their worlds and offering each other advice. I finished the book and immediately wanted to go right back to the beginning and start reading it all over again. Whenever I get that desire, I know I've just read something really special that will stay with me for a while. And that is certainly true of A Corner of White. I so cannot wait to see where the story goes from here!

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

{ More about Jaclyn Moriarty }

Jaclyn Moriarty's website
Jaclyn Moriarty's Goodreads profile

The second book in the series,
is due out in March 2014!

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