3 stars · fiction

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

 

Wonderstruck

author : brian selznick [also wrote The Invention of Hugo Cabret]

pages : [hardcover] 640

memorable quote : Ben wished the world was organized by the Dewey decimal system. That way you’d be able to find whatever you were looking for.”

favorite character : rose

summary :

Ben and Rose secretly wish for better lives. Ben longs for his unknown father. Rose scrapbooks a famous silent actress. When Ben finds clues and Rose reads enticing news, the children independently run to New York for what they are missing. Ben’s story in words, Rose’s in pictures, come together in deafness.

review :

I was absolutely fascinated by the idea that this story was told half in words, half pictures. I read and loved Hugo Cabret before, written by the same author, and loved how what was told in the text was visually represented. Wonderstruck is different because Ben’s story is told completely in words while Rose’s is only in pictures, so her tale is a little more difficult to piece together. The two narratives also take place in different times so it was awesome to see little historical bits about the 1970s and 1920s. It was also very fun to guess at why the two of them were chosen to tell the story and to try to figure out how they may be connected. While I kind of guessed the answer by the end, it still had a little surprise!

This book is very large but it’s such a quick read! If you have a few hours one afternoon you could easily get through this massive novel. I think younger readers might be daunted, at least until they see that most of the pages are taken up by pictures or large text. I breezed through this and though I needed to stop a few times to read my actual homework, this was much more fun to page through.

What I really liked about this novel, and think that there should be more of, was the fact that prominent characters are deaf. I can’t remember the last time I’ve read a novel with a deaf person in it. While I don’t know much about Deaf culture, I would love to learn sign language, so it was also very cool to see sign language in a few of the pictures throughout the novel.

Even though I was captivated by the concept of the story, loved that there was such a fascination with museums in the novel, and really enjoyed some pieces of the plot, this isn’t one of my favorite books. I’m not sure if I’ll read it again, now that the fun of it has worn off. I definitely think it’s the kind of story that some people might like better than I could. Ben and Rose seemed hard for me to relate to and so I wasn’t as drawn into their story as I should have been. While I wanted a happy ending, there was no real excitement in the story that had me craving more. It was simply a nice story.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick, interesting read. It isn’t a favorite but I’m still very glad that I read it.

3.5/5 stars

5 stars · Fantasy · fiction · series · young adult

Wish by Beth Bracken & Kay Fraser

Wish

faerieground #1

authors : beth bracken & kay fraser

pages : [hardcover] 306

favorite characters : kheelan & soli

summary :

With one wish made in Willow Forest, Soli and Lucy are pulled into Faerieground – and into the middle of an ancient battle. In the faerie kingdom, an evil queen searches for her daughter while the palace crumbles. To save her best friend, Soli must find her hidden strength. This is a story about friendship, growing up, and the power of wishes. This is a story about faeries and spells, queens and lost princesses, fireflies and four-leaf clovers. But mostly, this is a story about love.

review :

This book is such a quick and cute read! Although it is obviously geared toward younger readers, fantasy lovers of all ages will love the illustrations and messages presented in Wish! I flew through it in just a few short hours because half of the book is full-page illustrations of the characters and events of the story. I loved the visual presentation of the fairy world, the dynamic between Lucy and Soli, and the fact that both fantastical and real-life issues were addressed throughout the novel!

The entire plot of the novel only happens because of a simple fight between best friends over a boy, something that most female readers would be able to relate to. Because the opening of the book is grounded in realism, that only enhances Wish and makes it especially useful to younger readers. Lucy and Soli remain loyal to each other, even if they are angry, and I think that seeing these strong characters facing obstacles they never could have imagined before.

I do with that there was a little more writing because there are spaces on the pages where more dialogue and description could have been added, though I’m assuming that that was avoided in favor of the fantastical drawings. While those were definitely my favorite part of the novel and what makes it so incredibly unique and fun, I really wished that the ending could have been less abrupt and more well-rounded, though of course now I’ll need to go on to read the next book! I can’t wait to see what else happens in he Faerieground and what adventures Soli and Lucy might have!

I’d recommend Wish to anyone, young and old. Fairy lovers, especially, or people who love fairy tale worlds will love this book!

5/5 stars

4 stars · books to movies · fiction · history · young adult

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Author: Brian Selznick

Pages [hardcover]: 533

memorable quote: Even if all the clocks in the station break down, thought Hugo, time won’t stop. Not even if you really want it to.

Like now.

favorite characters: Hugo & Etienne

summary:

Orphan Hugo Cabret lives in a wall. His secret home is etched out in the crevices of a busy Paris train station. Part-time clock keeper, part-time thief, he leads a life of quiet routine until he gets involved with an eccentric, bookish young girl and an angry old man who runs a toy booth in the station. The Invention of Hugo Cabret unfolds its cryptic, magical story in a format that blends elements of picture book, novel, graphic novel, and film. Caldecott Honor-winning author-illustrator Brian Selznick has fashioned an intricate puzzle story that binds the reader like a mesmerist’s spell.

review:

 I was really looking forward to reading this book-mostly, I’m not going to lie, because of the pictures. Yeah, that’s right. There are so many of them, because Brian Selznick is going for a new feel in this book. Sort of a cinematic reading experience. Sounds crazy? Maybe it is, but it sort of works. Seeing pictures of a fight scene helps me picture everything better than simply reading about it, but some chases in books can be particularly descriptive, too. I can just say it was a good experience, the images were wonderful, and I hope to read more books like this in the future. Pictures shouldn’t be just for kids!

This book was a bit predictable, which disappointed me. I was looking for some conspiracy, some twist, that would shake me up and make me look at the book in a different light. I know not every novel can work out that way, but I don’t want to be able to see the end from before the middle of the book. While I kept reading on, that definitely detracted from my enjoyment of the entire thing.

This is really a quick read! I read it in a few days, but could have easily done so in a couple of hours. What with the big font, small pieces of writing, and page after page of illustrations, I was literally flipping through the pages to see what would happen next.

While I recommend this book, mainly for the unique premise, I wouldn’t see to hold your breath while waiting to read it. It’s a sweet little story, but not one that knocked my socks off.

PREDICTABLY PLOTTED. 3.5/5 stars