Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Info: Arthur A. Levine Books, copyright 2013, 375 pages
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...
Well. Hmmm. Let's see. You've got Madeleine who is living in Cambridge with her mother. Mom seems to be a little off. Forgetful. Scatterbrained. And yet, she somehow got it into her head that it would be a good idea to homeschool her daughter. Luckily Madeleine is a self-starter and voracious reader, soaking up facts and stories especially on Isaac Newton.
Then you've got Elliot. Elliot is grieving over the disappearance of his father. He lives in a farming community, goes to school, and helps with odd jobs at home and in his aunt's Inn. But Elliot lives in the Kingdom of Cello, a kingdom where butterfly children bring the hope of bountiful harvests and colors terrorizes the citizens. Elliot and Madeleine meet through a crack that allows them to communicate as pen pals (just like Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in the Lake House!) Two kids, a bit lost, who find a friendship that will change their lives.
This one was different. The writing style and storytelling reminded me a lot of Jasper Fforde. And I love Jasper Fforde. It has a very British sensibility even though Moriarty is Australian. While it's yet another book that jumps between perspectives, it helps that there are two different worlds being visited, not just two voices telling the same story. We see Elliot and his struggles in Cello. And then we see Madeleine and hers in Cambridge. And their letters tie them both together.
There story seemed forever to really get going, but I didn't really understand what I was getting into. I suppose I thought that there would be a bit more of a connection between the worlds. A crossover. Or even a romance. But there wasn't any of that. Okay - I suppose I really just wanted Keanu Reeves to be pining from the strange kingdom with colors that attack people (a stumbling block for my imagination).
Maybe I'll continue on with the series. I haven't decided yet. The audiobook was fantastic though. Fiona Hardingham is quickly becoming one of my new favorite narrators. If you like a bit of whimsy, this might be just the series for you.