A Corner of White (The Colors of Madeleine Series #1)

A Corner of White (The Colors of Madeleine Series #1)

4.0 14
by Jaclyn Moriarty
     
 

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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

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Overview


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...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two worlds coexist in this fascinating first book in Moriarty's Colors of Madeleine series. Bright, enigmatic 14-year-old Madeleine has moved to Cambridge, England, with her mother, where she receives home schooling from a small group of eccentric teachers, along with friends Jack and Belle. Madeleine accidentally makes contact with the fantastical Kingdom of Cello when she discovers a message poking out of a broken parking meter. She begins a written correspondence with 15-year-old Elliott, a boy living in the Cellian farming town of Bonfire, where Colors, "a kind of rogue subclass of the colors that we see," are known to attack and kill (Elliott's father was the alleged victim of a "Purple"), and the arrival of the fabled "Butterfly Child" is an auspicious sign. As the narrative alternates between Cello and Cambridge, some readers may be frustrated by the slow unfolding of events, yet moments of sharp observation, startling invention, and delightfully comic dialogue confirm Moriarty as a genre-bending author who gracefully weaves metaphysical questions into outwardly ordinary circumstances. Ages 12�up. Agent: Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

"In this genre-blending feat of stylistic energy, Moriarty moves between  two palpably distinct worlds: the modern day environs of Cambridge,
England, and the eccentric kingdom of Cello, where the citizens are menaced by colors that attack from the sky and cause severe physical and mental injury. Fourteen-year-old Madeleine lives in Cambridge, having moved there when she and her mother ran away from their obscenely wealthy but unhappy lifestyle to adopt a considerably poorer but not all that happier one; now Madeleine has decided it is time to contact her father to come rescue them, especially since it seems that her mother may be seriously ill. Fifteen-year-old Elliot lives in Cello, and he,
too, is in search of his father, who may have been carried off by the nasty Purple that killed his uncle, or who may have just run off with a schoolteacher. When Madeleine finds a mysterious message on a slip of paper tucked in the base of a parking meter, she responds, and she and
Elliot develop a correspondence across worlds. The large and small pieces of their lives intermingle with surprising and beneficial effects, despite the fact that Madeleine doesn’t quite believe in Cello, and Elliot could be sentenced to death for not reporting the gap between the worlds. The plotting is as innovative and riveting as the world-making here, and the characters are drawn with the same rich dimensionality you find in Pratchett’s Discworld or one of Diana Wynne Jones’s fantasies. Moriarty’s wordsmithery likewise compares favorably with those two masters, delighting and surprising readers with quirky turns of phrase, evocative, synesthetic metaphors, and swift, effective shifts in register. Give this to readers who, like Madeleine, aren’t quite sure of their commitment to secondary worlds but like to spice their realities with a little fantasy nonetheless, as well as to those who love secondary worlds with a healthy helping of reality on the side." - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books starred review

"In this lovely fantasy, two stories run parallel. Fourteen-year-old Madeleine lives in Cambridge, England, where she is adjusting to life without her dad. Elliot lives in the Kingdom of Cello, where his search for his dad is postponed by the deplorable state of crops at home. If it were not for the tiny portal in a parking meter, Madeleine and Elliot would not have started writing letters back and forth. The story is told through the teens’ communications and an omniscient narrator. This mix allows readers to know Madeleine and Elliot and their problems intimately, but it also gives them an aerial view of events, helps them meet the richly drawn secondary characters, and allows them to see the ingenious way in which the protagonists’ lives ultimately combine. Attacks by “Colors,” “living organisms: a kind of rogue subclass of the colors that we see when we look at a red apple or blue sky” keep the townspeople on edge, and Elliot wonders if his dad were killed during one of them. Mysteries abound. Is Madeleine’s mom’s strange behavior due to her inability to cope with poverty, or is something else going on? Why doesn’t Madeleine’s dad answer her letter, and is she somehow to blame for his absence? Ultimately, this is a story of two teenagers helping each other figure out their places in their respective worlds." Jennifer Prince, School Library Journal starred review

"Australian author Moriarty, best known for her Ashbury-Brookfield series (including The Year of Secret Assignments, rev. 3/04, and The Ghosts of Ashbury High, rev. 7/10), here embarks on a new series and a new genre. Fourteen-year-old Madeleine has moved to Cambridge, England, with her mother; they’ve run away (somewhat mysteriously) from Madeleine’s father and a life of extreme wealth. Fifteen-year-old Elliot Baranski lives in the Kingdom of Cello, where Colors are living organisms that can kill people, where seasons change at the drop of a hat, and where “Wandering Hostiles” want to overthrow the royal family. People stopped moving between Cello and Madeleine’s world hundreds of years ago, but Elliot has found a tiny “crack” between the two places and has begun a correspondence with Madeleine. While Elliot learned about Madeleine’s world in school, she thinks Cello is an imaginary land he’s invented. Moriarty is the queen of epistolary stories, and her fans will find the teens’ letters a familiar entrée into this highly unusual fantasy. Like Madeleine, readers will be initially baffled by, but will ultimately believe in, Elliot’s world. Moriarty’s story comes across as matter-of-fact yet curious, topped off with a strong dose of humor (think Margaret Mahy). As always, her irresistible characters help readers navigate a tantalizingly complex plot that will leave them eagerly awaiting the next book." - Jennifer M. Brabander, The Hornbook Magazine starred review

Praise for Jaclyn Moriarty

"Moriarty has found a winning formula for her thoroughly enjoyable, deceptively simple Ashbury High novels: She takes a clever, sophisticated epistolary format, adds sparkling, effervescent wit, and applies them to a mash-up of literary genres." -- Horn Book, starred review

"[A]n exhilarating pace, irrepressible characters, and a screwball humor that will easily attract teens, many of whom will yearn for madcap adventures and unshakably devoted friends like these." -- Booklist, starred review

"Who can resist Moriarty's biting humor?" -- Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Jaclyn Moriarty

"Moriarty has found a winning formula for her thoroughly enjoyable, deceptively simple Ashbury High novels: She takes a clever, sophisticated epistolary format, adds sparkling, effervescent wit, and applies them to a mash-up of literary genres." -- Horn Book, starred review

"[A]n exhilarating pace, irrepressible characters, and a screwball humor that will easily attract teens, many of whom will yearn for madcap adventures and unshakably devoted friends like these." -- Booklist, starred review

"Who can resist Moriarty's biting humor?" -- Kirkus Reviews

VOYA - Rebecca O'Neil
Fourteen-year-old Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, after she and her mother flee from high-society life with her father. Elliot Baranski, fifteen, lives in the Kingdom of Cello, where his own father has mysteriously disappeared after a "Color Attack" that also killed his uncle. After accidentally discovering a crack between their worlds that allows letters through, the two begin corresponding about their problems: Madeleine's poverty, her mother's illness, her friends Jack and Belle, her research of Isaac Newton; and Elliot's discovery of the Butterfly Child (a fairy creature said to improve crops), the effects of Colors in Cello, and the antics of his loyal friends. Moriarty's fans will recognize her flair for epistolary storytelling and quirky characters. Humorous asides and large doses of whimsy create a breezy tone that makes moments of romance and violence unexpectedly powerful. Madeleine's insistence that Cello is Elliot's fabrication ("I have issues with your world-building") provides a particularly funny, metafiction twist to the parallel-universe storyline. As the first book in a new series, The Colors of Madeleine, this book sets up a lot of backstory, and the slow beginning may deter some readers. Those who persevere, however, will be rewarded with a clever, layered story in which every seemingly innocuous detail plays a part, and the ending satisfies while opening brand-new doors for the sequel. School and public libraries will want to purchase this one. Reviewer: Rebecca O'Neil
Children's Literature - Natalie Gurr
Madeleine's world has shifted. She has gone from a life of travel and wealth, to living in a small flat with her mother in Cambridge. Madeleine is not sure what is true anymore and she is not sure where she belongs; but everything begins to change when she serendipitously finds a note in a parking meter and she responds. Elliot lives in the land of Cello. A land of magic and some advanced technology, where Colors can bring peace or destruction. His father went missing a year ago, the supposed victim of a ferocious Purple, but Elliot has not given up hope yet. A crack appears, something that has not happened in years, and he finds Madeleine's note, and a correspondence begins. Across worlds, the events of their lives begin to intervene and weave together. Secrets are uncovered and friendships are discovered. Lyrically written, Moriarty tells a story of magic, intrigue, and finding purpose in life. Madeleine and Elliott are likable and believable. While there is a magical element, Moriarty has written a very human story with realistic feelings and experiences. Excellent read for those who love contemporary situations within an imaginative world. Reviewer: Natalie Gurr
Kirkus Reviews
Another one of a kind from the inimitable Moriarty, this time, a barely epistolary fantasy series opener unlike anything else out there. Fourteen-year-old Madeleine lives in Cambridge, England, with her zany mother in uncertain circumstances, having run away from their fabulously privileged international existence. Meanwhile, Elliot lives in Bonfire, The Farms, Cello, a parallel reality that might be the real fairyland (although that's never explicitly stated, and this version seems utterly unlike most versions of fairyland). Through a crack between their worlds, they begin exchanging letters, although more of the novel is about one or the other of these two appealing characters than about their moments of intersection. Elliot wants to find his father, who disappeared mysteriously, while Madeleine wants to be found by hers and is also navigating friendship and her mother's deteriorating health. Moriarty's trademark wit and whimsy are on full display, with zingy dialogue that feels right if not entirely realistic and bizarre characters living unexpected lives that manage to be mundane and delightful at the same time. By the end, Madeleine's story feels somewhat resolved, but Elliot's has turned an unexpected corner that will bring their worlds much closer and bring readers more mystery and humor in the next volume. Quirky, charming, funny, sad: another winner from this always-surprising author. (Fantasy. 12 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 6�9—In this lovely fantasy, two stories run parallel. Fourteen-year-old Madeleine lives in Cambridge, England, where she is adjusting to life without her dad. Elliot lives in the Kingdom of Cello, where his search for his dad is postponed by the deplorable state of crops at home. If it were not for the tiny portal in a parking meter, Madeleine and Elliot would not have started writing letters back and forth. The story is told through the teens' communications and an omniscient narrator. This mix allows readers to know Madeleine and Elliot and their problems intimately, but it also gives them an aerial view of events, helps them meet the richly drawn secondary characters, and allows them to see the ingenious way in which the protagonists' lives ultimately combine. Attacks by "Colors," "living organisms: a kind of rogue subclass of the colors that we see when we look at a red apple or blue sky" keep the townspeople on edge, and Elliot wonders if his dad were killed during one of them. Mysteries abound. Is Madeleine's mom's strange behavior due to her inability to cope with poverty, or is something else going on? Why doesn't Madeleine's dad answer her letter, and is she somehow to blame for his absence? Ultimately, this is a story of two teenagers helping each other figure out their places in their respective worlds.—Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545397360
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/2013
Series:
Colors of Madeleine Series, #1
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
356,143
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile:
800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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