Monday, February 20, 2012

A book review: Junonia

Title: Junonia
Author: Kevin Henkes
Published: Greenwillow Books (May 24, 2011)

Synopsis: Returning to the beach cottage—a cottage named Scallop—where she has always celebrated her birthday is a special occasion for Alice Rice.
Who will see the first dolphin this time? The first pelican? What will have changed? Stayed the same? And will this be the year she finally finds a junonia shell?
Alice's friends are all returning, too. And she's certain her parents have the best party planned for her. Alice can't wait. If Alice is lucky, everything will be absolutely perfect. Will Alice be lucky?

Star parts: I read the first few pages on Amazon. As Alice Rice crosses the bridge to Sanipel Island the story is full of promise. Will Alice find the rare junonia shell?  Will she enjoy her birthday, she's turning ten and I have to admit that I too had this kind of weird pleasure of reaching an age with double digits. All these things made me want to read on, as well as elegantly framed sentences. Henkes creates very realistic characters. Alice, Mallory, the Wishmeier's, all of them had their little quirks and characteristics which made them individuals and realistic. 

Black clouds: But... that promise of something special never came through. In the end I found Alice a little spoilt and got a little fed up with her. When things didn't go her way she was couldn't shift her perception (which I suppose is how kids are). Things that could have given the story a little oomph such as why Mallory's mum was in France were never explained. And when the aforementioned mother calls and causes Mallory to have a meltdown, they leave and it's never explained. The junonia thread is a little disappointing too.

  Do I recommend it: I hate saying no, because for every book I don't like there's an equal amount of people who love the book. Trust me I went through good reads and saw that people either loved it or hated it. But in the end this is what I really think is that problem with this book. It's a book about a kid. It's a very realistic portrait of a ten year old child from a ten year old child's point of view, but I don't think it's for kids and it's not a book I would readily recommend to kids. If you like reminiscing about childhood maybe this is the book for you, if not pass. 

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