A Corner of White (The Colours of Madeleine #1) by Jaclyn Moriarty
Published by Arther A. Levine, 2013
The first in a rousing, funny, genre-busting trilogy from bestseller Jaclyn Moriarty!
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...
A Corner of White is a parallel universe fantasy about two people who have lost someone. In one world (The World) is Madeleine, who has run away from home and ended up in Cambridge, England with her mother, who decided to run away at the exact same time. In the other world (The Kingdom of Cello) is Elliot, who lost his father and uncle to a colour attack. Because in this world, colours are dangerous beings who roam the kingdom, attacking people. Which is kind of ironic considering Madeleine herself is one of the most colourful people over in Cambridge. The two "meet" through happenstance when Madeleine finds a note in a parking meter. Turns out there is a small crack between the two worlds and they start to write letters to one another.
This is such a different book than any other fantasy that I'm not even sure that summary does it justice. There is so much that happens within the pages of A Corner of White. Between the homeschooling madness in The World (which by the way, is our world, if you didn't get that), Madeleine's relationship with Jack (is she using him?), her kooky mother who may or may not be sick. Then you have Elliot in The Kingdom of Cello, learning about these colour attacks, which were the most unique "monsters" I've ever read about, you get to read newspaper articles from two of the princesses, whole chapters that are just letters from Elliot to Madeleine and vice versa, and finally there is that butterfly child. This whole book is madness!
So let's start with saying this...I found it kind of confusing at first. And when I say kind of, I mean a lot. Trying to figure out what was going on in Madeleine's world was hard enough but then when you throw in the Kingdom of Cello and learning about this fantasy world, it was a lot to take in. Luckily I started to get the hang of it around 100 pages, and once I did it was practically unputdownable. For me, it was definitely a slow read but also very satisfying.
I loved the whimsy of it all and I fell in love with Cello. I started to look forward to Madeleine and Elliot's letters and found it especially fun when Elliot would have to sit through those letters of her not believing Cello was a real place or lecturing him about the science of colours. I also really looked forward to the princesses articles in the newspaper. Having the princesses tour the country was amazing because there is even more kookiness that comes up about the kingom.
My favourite character in the entire book has to be the detective in Cello who solves all sorts of mysteries. I was always amazed by how quickly he would figure it out and the logic that brought him to those conclusions. I also loved how much he was looking out for Elliot, as Elliot's father had disappeared. He also seemed to be the only character in Cello that really had his head on straight.
One of my absolute favourites this summer. Once I finished the book, I carried it around with me for days and opened it up randomly just to be in this world a little longer. (In fact, it has still not found it's way back to the bookshelf).
Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.