I just LOVE it when a book you don’t necessarily have high expectations for turns out to be FANTASTIC! A Corner Of White was just that for me!
Although I have loved Jaclyn Moriarty’s books in the past (Feeling Sorry for Celia in particular), I picked this one up a while ago and it sat on my shelf waiting … mostly because I was just not convinced by the blurb on the book-jacket that it would be good. I’m quite glad the book proved me wrong, and even happier that it appears to be the first in a SERIES (and I do love a good series).
I’ll start off by saying this book definitely mixes fantasy with real-life. Often I’m not the biggest fan of that sort of thing, however it worked quite well here.
Madeleine Tully and her mother, Holly, have run away from their former glamorous, word-class life and settled in Cambridge, England, The World. Madeleine has not quite determined if she means to stay in Cambridge – or if she can go back and pick up her old life where things left off. In the meantime, there are relationships to navigate and her mother to worry about.
One day, Madeleine finds a mysterious note wedged in a broken parking meter. On a whim, she replies.
Elliot Baranski is a well-liked young man in the Kingdom of Cello. He is searching for his father, who went missing a year ago, along with one of the teachers from town. Elliot’s uncle went missing the same night – and was found later, brutally murdered. It’s not clear what happened, but rumors abound. Was it an attack, or did Elliot’s dad run away with the town’s physics teacher?
Elliot happens across Madeline’s note and the two begin to exchange messages in a crack between their worlds. As each deal with their own problems, the two build a friendship. Who knows? They might even be able to help each other out.
- The Kingdom of Cello is not like Cambridge, England. For one, the seasons seem to switch randomly and rapidly (for example, it can go from winter to summer in the span of a week, and then back again). For another, the Kingdom is plagued by dangerous Colors. Some Colors are nice, but others are dangerous and powerful (e.g. a second-level Gray can shred you, and a first-level Yellow can blind or kill you). This was incredibly confusing, at first. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to wrap my head around the whole Colors thing.
- I like how neither Elliot or Madeleine are perfect people. They are well rounded characters – they have fears, flaws, and weak points. At the same time, they have personality. They are also both likeable (bonus!). They also grow and develop as characters, which I really appreciate.
- The dual storylines are complimentary. They go well together. They have some nice but not too-obvious parallels.
- The book ends on a high note! Not everything is completely wrapped up, but enough was given a tidy “conclusion” that it’s not PURE torture to wait for the next Madeleine book. Which I assume is coming, given that this one is “The colors of Madeleine, Book One”.