Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books.
Release date: April 1st 2013.
Ebook, 384 pages.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Source: Received from publisher for review via Netgalley.
Reviewed by: Emily.
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...
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’t think it would be possible to love A Corner of White as much as Finding Cassie Crazy, but I was wrong. This book is just so clever and charming, and I can’t wait to read the sequel.
Although I finished this book a few months ago, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. One of the reasons I was hesitant to write my review is I don’t know how to explain the two worlds without sounding ridiculous. So I’m just going to give you the simplest explanation: Madeleine lives in our world, in Cambridge, and Elliot lives in the Kingdom of Cello. They exchange letters through a gap between their worlds. Sounds kind of weird, right? Well, it is. But Jaclyn is such a talented writer that it never felt like a bogus concept. In this beautiful blend of contemporary and fantasy, Cello felt as real as our world. I would totally book a vacation to Cello if I could, colour storms and all.
At times the real world setting was just as quirky as Cello. I love the way Jaclyn Moriarty takes everyday stuff and puts her own unique spin on it. Here’s an example: “The teapot itself, also white, had a sort of attitude about it: 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.” (Quote may have changed as it was taken from the ARC). There’s something so classically Moriarty about that, something she brings to all her novels, and it worked particularly well in this one.
The way the plot unfolded completely blew me away. If I could have had a conversation with Jaclyn Moriarty while reading this, I think it would’ve went something like… Me: I see what you’re doing here. JM: No, you don’t. Me: Well, NOW I know what’s going to happen. JM: You really don’t. Me (at the end): HOLD THE PHONE. WHAT JUST HAPPENED? JM: *smiles smugly*. (Kidding. I’m sure Jaclyn is lovely, even to know-it-all readers like me.)
I became so invested in Madeleine and Elliot’s stories. Whatever they ached for, I ached for it just as much. When they were angry, I was angry. When they were happy…you get the picture. This made A Corner of White a reading experience that I will always remember fondly. I smiled, cried, laughed, yelled. And I look forward to doing it again when I reread this gem of a novel.
All I can say is I hope you love it, too.