March 28, 2013

A Corner of White - Jaclyn Moriarty

A Corner of White book cover
A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty
Series: The Colors of Madeleine #1
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Source/Format: Big Honcho Media (Thanks!) || ARC
[I received this book for review. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

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... (from Goodreads)

The first thing you need to know about A Corner of White is that it was quite the challenge to read and to like. I do pride myself on being a pretty open-minded reader, but I simply felt confused and overwhelmed when I started this book. I was trying to understand just how Madeleine and Elliot's worlds were really connected, and to not be able to truly define it was hard.

However, and this is the second thing you need to know, I realized, eventually, that maybe I was just making it too complicated for myself. Perhaps it really was just as simple as believing that Jaclyn was raising the curtain on a world that existed parallel to our own that we just didn't know about. Perhaps I just needed to believe that Colors in Cello did not work the way colors in the real world do. With the acceptance of these facts as true, I wound up relaxing just a little and being able to read the story with less confusion.

And the third thing, before I get down to details, is this: I wound up really liking A Corner of White. I may not have loved it, and that's mostly because of the initial confusion. But I ended up really liking it, and will definitely be continuing on with the series.

Madeleine, who is narrating from Cambridge in our world, appears to always be lost in her own thoughts. Growing up as a privileged kid led her to believe that anything was an adventure, and that it was always easy to have the problems solved for her. When reality finally hits her, it's very heartbreaking to watch her comprehend that sometimes you have to deal with these things yourself. I liked the fact that she was pretty quirky, what with her active imagination and her library of factoids, but sometimes, she rubbed me the wrong way with her tendency to act selfishly.

Elliot, on the other hand, is the golden boy from Cello. It's fairly obvious that he's the typical victim of hero worship, as everyone in his little town appears to adore him. Even though it obviously puts a lot of pressure on him, I found it commendable that he was pretty nonchalant about it for the most part. At the start, I was a bit annoyed by his perfection (he's athletic and thoughtful and intelligent and attractive), but that all changed when I discovered his story. The fact that he really is persistent in the search for his father, and that he really cared about his family and friends helped me soften towards him.

Their separate lives were very interesting, each coming complete with its own cast of quirky characters and situations. But it was really their connection through their letters that I enjoyed. The letters were often short and sweet, but cleverly written. Their banter was fun, as well as the fact that we got to know a lot about each of them through their own words. The exchange of knowledge and experiences was truly fun to read, and I found myself eagerly looking forward to the parts with the letters more than any other part of the book.

I honestly can't fully explain the entire plot of the book, which is probably because I was so confused at first. Madeleine has her own story, Elliot his and there is also the one they share, which basically means we're working with three separate lines of plot. Even though it's overwhelming, it was worth it when I reached the latter half and discovered the twist that has me curious enough to read on to the second book.

Even though it was very hard to get into, A Corner of White is truly whimsical and imaginative. I'm curious to see where Jaclyn takes this series, as well as checking out more of the titles she's written, as I enjoyed her writing style. I do want to make it clear that I don't think this book is necessarily for everyone, but it certainly worked out for me in the end!


  1. This book was so unique and so Moriarty. It was definitely confusing at times and harder to get into than most books, but SO worth it at the end. I can't wait for Book 2!


  2. Very interesting review! It sounds like a fun book, but my attention span seems to be failing on me lately. I'm hoping it's due to spring fever. Haha. Hopefully I'll be able to hold on to this confusing beginning without giving up! I'm glad you ended up enjoying it. :)

  3. hmm. this leaves me wondering if ill be able to power through or not!

  4. I've got an ARC of it too. It looks like an awesome read. I hope I will be able to get through the confusing beginning though...
    Thanks for sharing you thoughts (:
    New follower!

    Sapir @ Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl

  5. I've been very intrigued by the buzz around this book and I'm really looking forward to checking it out especially because I love the technique of alternating perspectives.

  6. From what I've read in reviews, it does sound like readers need to be in the right mindset in order to read and enjoy A Corner of White. Although it took you a bit of time to get there, I am glad that you were finally able to start enjoying this book. It sounds so imaginative and interesting. I definitely need to pick this up myself!


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