Author: B.A. Williamson
Age Classification: Children’s
Publisher: North Star Editions / Jolly Fish Press
Release: May 18, 2018
This of the story of Gwendolyn Gray – a twelve-year-old girl with wild, bright red hair and a colourful imagination living in a dull and colourless world. She is creative, determined and extremely odd among her peers. One day, even she finds herself rather odd when colourful things from her imagination start appearing in the otherwise dull city. Then, by complete accident, one of her classmates grow bunny ears, she finds herself at the boundaries of the city being hunted by two mysterious creepy men and she is saved from their clutches by two very odd children – Sparrow and Starling.
Sparrow is a boy around Gwendolyn’s age who is kind but idiotic and has a bit of a crush on Gwendolyn. Starling is his older sister who has blue hair and a really standoffish personality. This brother-sister duo are castaways – children who went through a portal to another world and are now world jumping hoping to one day find their way home. They are skilled and savvy enough to survive while constantly on the run and are quite shocked to come across Gwendolyn and her rare abilities.
The story is split into three sections – grey, gold and red – and the names of these sections are symbolic. Grey is the first part where the story starts and takes place mostly in Gwendolyn’s dull city. Gold is the second part in which Gwendolyn takes her new friends, Sparrow and Starling, to a world she read about in a book that is full of light and colour. The third and final part of the book is Red, where the adventure and the conflict that has been building throughout the previous two parts reach its peak and blows up.
The other thing I need to mention are the weird lambents that everyone stares into and receives all the knowledge they need but also seems to drain them of individuality, self-thought and common decency. I can understand why Gwendolyn hated where she lived if that is what she was faced with every day. Also, that is some weird dystopian stuff and the scariest part is that technological developments may already be making creepy stuff like that possible. Public service announcement: Do not go staring into large marbles that light up and somehow transfer information into your brain.
I feel the storyline works but it is definitely aimed at younger audiences. The character development and the world descriptions were good, but the actual events seemed confusing due to rushed scenes and lack of explanations, though that may just be personal preference. The book and the “figment” Gwendolyn finds were two of the best elements in this book, but I felt they were not focused on enough nor was it really explained why she found it with stuff that had her initials on it. I also think there needed to be more explanation as to who the creepy men hunting Gwendolyn down were, who they worked for and what they truly wanted. It was probably the biggest plot hole that I could not fully work out by the time the book ended.
Star Rating: ☆☆☆
I think this was a good children’s / middle-grade novel with that “kids can save the world” vibe and quirky characters that my 8-year-old self would have really liked, but it does not quite hit the mark for me.
Have you ever read a book and thought your younger self would have enjoyed it more?
Let me know in the comments.
Until next time bibliophiles!
A digital copy of this book was supplied to me by North Star Editions / Jolly Fish Press via NetGalley