A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

8663446103 353ffe50d0 A Corner of White by Jaclyn MoriartyBuy A Corner Of White
Special Price: $13.61 (Regular price: $17.99)
Publisher: Waldon Pond Press
Format: Hardcover
Reviewer: Melissa on April 25, 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

In the first book in The Colors of Madeleine series, A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty, readers are in for a delightful tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life of luxury and travel under mysterious circumstances, settling into a rainy corner in Cambridge, England (in our world), while Elliot is searching for his father, who disappeared in the Kingdom of Cello on the same night that his uncle was found dead. Could Elliot’s dead have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher? Elliot refuses to believe this, even as the evidence to the contrary keeps piling up. As Madeleine and Elliot become closer to solving their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across a crack that exists between their two worlds. As the narrator and reader watch, helplessly, greater mysteries unfold on either side of the gap, including everything from “color storms” and a fascination with Isaac Newton to the “butterfly child” mythology and some unexpected kisses.

If my experience of A Corner of White is any indication of the general consensus about this book, then the character of Madeleine will draw you in and keep pulling you along through the story’s narrative arc. It didn’t take long – approximately 50 pages – before I found myself falling in love with her character and invested in determining what this corner of white business could be about. (Again, it wasn’t long before I found myself thinking…wow, so THAT’S what the corner of white means.) Madeleine’s propensity for both all-encompassing fantasy explanations for everything that happens and the difficult problems that both she and Elliot must come to terms with demonstrate the mutable division between high fantasy and contemporary YA in this book. Madeleine retains and recounts the facts of Isaac Newton’s, Lord Byron’s, and Charles Babbage’s lives, and her understanding of their legacies helps Elliot shape his knowledge of the fantasy world. In other words, the things that happen or are learned in the real world are equally relevant in the alternate world that Moriarty creates and vice versa.

While there is a lot to delight about in Moriarty’s writing, there is one thing that dampened the experience of reading this novel and which may cause some readers to give up. The complex fantasy world that Moriarty creates means that the first third of the novel or so seems rather slow. In fact, if I didn’t already think that there was something brilliant and charming about the way Madeleine interprets and criticizes Elliot’s “fantasy world” through the letters they share, I might have been tempted to give up before I really had a chance to fall in love with the story. I, for one, am so glad that I stuck through the slow, world building moments because I can say without any hesitation that it was well worth the wait. The further one gets into this story, the more closely does Moriarty bring together what seem to be loose threads between the two worlds. If you enjoy either fantasy or contemporary YA novels, then there will be something to love about this book.

While this book is the first in a series, which means that the story has a long way to go before it’s complete, A Corner of White deftly ties up many of the questions readers will have upon reading while offering up possibilities for the subsequent books that are sure to keep readers interested.

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