Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Must Read Middle Grade: Storybound by Melissa Burt

In the land of story, children go to school to learn how to be characters. They learn to be heroes, sidekicks, ladies, or even dastardly villains. They then go on to find work in stories written just for them. In our world, 12-year-old Una Fairchild has always felt out of place. That is until she stumbles onto a mysterious book in the library and is transported into Story. But all is not perfect in Story.With a Tale Keeper watching her every move, and whispers of a secret that involves Una herself- one that could put her- and Story- in grave danger!

Many years ago I read a book by Roderick Townley called The Great Good Thing. I'm not sure if it was ever a bestseller, but I loved it. I loved it because the characters in the book knew that they were characters, and yet when the book was closed, they had lives outside of the story. Storybound  reminded me a great deal of that and of course, of Inkheart, to which it's often compared.

Books like this are wonderful because they take you beyond the book, and make you wonder- what do the characters in our favourite stories do when we aren't reading them? Do they have lives outside of their stories? The characters in Storybound certainly do, and Story feels as real and as possible as ours is.

The characters are brilliantly flushed out, and nobody is exactly what they seem. On first blush, Snow is a spoiled and snotty girl, but as the novel progresses, readers learn how much more there is to her than what we saw. Snow is a lonely girl who feels abandoned by her mother (who has left her to live with a seemingly uncaring aunt and uncle) and just wants to feel important. She also wants to capture the attention of Peter, a boy in Story who is training to be a hero. Many of the other characters in Story are also not what they seem, including Una herself.

The story moves along quickly, and though I was wondering in the beginning where it was leading, it wasn't long before I was wholly engaged. I ended up finishing the last 300 pages in the space of a few hours on a Friday night because I simply couldn't put it down. The author creates some wonderful twists and turns, and I have to admit that I was totally taken by surprise by some of the revelations at the end.

Storybound is a really wonderful quest fantasy, and even better, it`s intelligent! It is not so difficult a read that kids will struggle, but it`s content rich, thoughtful, and a perfect book for reading alone or for reading aloud.