Book Title/Author: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty
Publisher/Year: Scholastic April 1st 2013
Genre: A blend of fantasy and contemporary YA
Series: Yes, it is the first book!
Other Books From Author: Ashbury/Brookfield series
I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!
A Corner of White is a story that spans two worlds — one is the one we know and the other is the Kingdom of Cello; a world where colors are physical beings and tiny fairy-like girls can drop from the sky and bring prosperous crops. Maddie and her mom have gone to England to get away from her father and she finds herself missing her dad and her old privileged life. In Cello, Eliot is trying to figure out what happened to his father who vanished on the same night his uncle was murdered by violent colors. Rumors say he ran away with another woman who disappeared that night but Eliot knows that can’t be the truth. When a crack between the two worlds opens up, which should be sealed up, Maddie and Eliot’s worlds collide and they start corresponding via letters and learning about each other and the events that are unfolding in both worlds.
Not going to lie, I almost put this book down. So very close but I decided to press on even though I’ve been trying to put down books I’m not enjoying and, well, A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty was on its way to the DNF pile. Fortunately, about half way through, it picked up for me and I absolutely could not put it down — much to Will’s dismay when he woke up at 2am to my book light in his face. DANG this going to be hard to review.
A Corner of White is not easy to pin down and it definitely doesn’t feel like everything I had ever read before. It’s this magical blend of fantasy and contemporary with alternating chapters set in two different worlds. One world is the world we know today and takes place in England. The other world is the Kingdom of Cello and it is this wholly imaginative and strange world. For example, colors are actual beings of sorts — some colors pass through and they bring destruction or others enhance your feelings. It was strange and hard to visualize at first but really kind of cool. Or seasons in Cello are not at all like what we know — they roam so it could be summer for a few days and then the next day it would be winter. I loved the Kingdom of Cello parts because of how crazy imaginative it was and how Moriarty wrote it.
Like I said, it DID take me a while to get into it. It’s definitely a slower paced read, which I DO enjoy very often, but I wasn’t really connecting with the story at all..in any way. I wasn’t curious. I didn’t particularly enjoy any characters. I’m glad I was patient to wait for the story to start to come together and take shape because when it did it got REALLY good and just captured my heart. I think the other thing that was hard for me to get used to was how it was told. It was third person but it could jump from character to character and give you their feelings and thoughts so it felt a little all over the place and I think probably contributed to me not connecting until way later.
I loved the way the two character’s stories come together. They are both living in their respective worlds and they both of this element of loneliness that just pervades their life. Maddie and her mother had run away from home and her father but Maddie missed him and she missed their old life. Eliot’s dad has been missing under mysterious circumstances and all he can think about is FINDING him when it seems like everyone else has kind of moved on. Both of them are so distracted and, in their heads, are somewhere else. The more the story progressed I got more and more invested in their stories though I think I was definitely more smitten with Eliot and the kingdom of Cello. Maddie REALLY took a long time for me to feel anything for. And then obviously, as their worlds converge because of a crack that opens up between their worlds, I just LOVED their interactions and how they learned about each others lives. And then towards the end the story just became more intensely paced and urgent for me and there were so many surprises. It was just a PERFECTLY executed ending and the way the story just comes together was BRILLIANT.
Besides the interesting worlds and the story itself, I also loved how offbeat and comical it was. There were just so many charming parts of A Corner of White where I found myself laughing. And there are just this whole host of amazing characters, in addition to Eliot and Maddie, that I found myself smitten with. I honestly could see this book so clearly in my head as a super quirky and fun movie even from the beginning!
I can’t say this was a favorite book of mine just because of how little of a draw I had to pick it up at first and how I just wasn’t feeling any sort of connection. However, it really became a very solid and delightful read that I’m so happy I was patient with and let myself slowly slip into its fantastical pages. It is truly one of the most original books I have ever read — imaginative, a little offbeat and strange in a GOOD way and a great set of characters. The story really, by the end, had captivated me and I just felt so invested in the characters lives and didn’t want to pry myself out of the kingdom of Cello it all its quirky glory. I don’t think this is going to be a book that will be universally loved. If you are a patient reader who doesn’t mind a slow start and are looking for something wildly different and unique — I’d definitely recommend it. I’m glad I stuck with it and cannot wait for book 2!
Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of the series? If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it? Did you have an awfully hard time in the beginning getting into it like I did or were you into from the start? For me it was no connection to the characters, feeling no interest in the story and not being able to picture some of the concepts. What was your favorite element of Cello? I thought the seasons were really cool but would be TERRIBLE in reality.