A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty [Book Review]

A Corner of White coverA Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: September 18th 2012
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Series: The Colors of Madeleine #1

Goodreads description: 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…

I completely misunderstood what A Corner of White was about, somehow. I saw it on someone’s blog a while ago and I think I completely missed the other world aspect and thought it was more about Madeleine and her mother running away from life.  I was at the library and they didn’t have all the books I wanted but I saw it and remembered being interested so I got it.

Madeleine, the MC in The World, turns fourteen the day before the story begins. She and her mother are new to Cambridge, England. They’ve lived many places and done incredibly exciting things but they ran away from her father and a wealthy life. Her mother, Holly, is obsessed with game shows. Elliot lives in Cello, which is another world. In Cello, they have Color attacks. They have the Magical North and seasons that roll in and out and last a day sometimes. Elliot is fifteen and his father is missing. He goes on dangerous trips to try and find him. He is popular and well liked in his town and likes to help people.

Madeleine spends a lot of time wanting her old life and wondering why they left. She has two new friends, Belle and Jack, and she likes them but it isn’t the same. Her mom is having issues which might be mental or physical or both and Madeleine isn’t sure how to handle this. She finds a piece of paper on a parking meter and starts writing letters to a boy in a different world. She doesn’t believe it’s a different world, she thinks he’s just a writer or something. Elliot knows about The World, but knows he isn’t supposed to communicate with anyone in it.

There was so much that I wanted to like about this book. Other worlds with Colors that attack and a magical Butterfly Child? Missing people and mysterious disappearances? It sounds great! Unfortunately, there’s so much information and not a lot actually happening. I found myself wondering if I wanted to complete the novel, but I was curious about certain things and I kept reading. In the beginning of the story, I was looking forward to the Magical North because there was talk of dragons and werewolves and a Lake of Spells, but nobody goes there so I was disappointed.

I’m not sure how much I liked Madeleine or Elliot. Isn’t that weird? Not knowing if you like a character? I guess I have no strong opinions on either. I wanted things to go their way while I was reading but I never felt that attached to either one. There were times when I was annoyed by both characters. They had both been through difficult times and it was easy to sympathize with them, but other than that I kind of felt like they were bland. Their letters to each other were annoying, too. I did like Jack, one of Madeleine’s friends, but he wasn’t as involved in the story as I expected him to be, which was disappointing.

Cello is interesting as another world but some of the time I wasn’t really sure what was going on. The Color attacks were fascinating but also confusing. Colors can cause fires and injuries, abduct people, and make people act strangely. There are good and bad Colors. There was also the Butterfly Child, who was supposed to be a big deal, but I thought the everything to do with her was pointless. She was just a convenient fix to a major problem. It felt like every problem in the book was very conveniently fixed, except for the problems meant to lure you into the next book. The end of the book speeds up and slams a lot of “Questions will be answered next time!” on you.

One of the best parts about the book for me is that the cover is actually relevant to the book. Madeleine actually wears that outfit and carries a tangerine umbrella! I did like some of the writing and will share some pretty words:

“Where was she now, the girl with the thunderstorm heart?”

“The Kingdom whispered.
Moonlight sighed across the ice fields of the Magical  North, glinting int he eyes of bears and wolves. It wound through the battlements and turrets of White Palace and glanced off the fishing poles that lined the Lake of Spells.”

“Both Holly Tully and her daughter were oddly compelling when they spoke. Their voices seemed pitched in a way you had to bend your head to catch; in a way that hit Jack in his stomach, then rose pleasantly to the centre of the back of his neck.”

2.5 stars

There were some things I enjoyed about A Corner of White, but as a whole it wasn’t fantastic. I’m curious about one thing that might or might not happen in the rest of the series but I don’t think I care enough to read more about the world. I would not want to reread this book. I don’t see the book as genre-busting, funny, or rousing which is how the description begins. I would recommend A Corner of White if you like strange other worlds, lots of information about Byron and Isaac Newton, and surprising lures thrown at you in the last few pages.

Check out Jaclyn Moriarty‘s website!

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10 thoughts on “A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty [Book Review]

  1. I’m not sure I’m interested in this… to be honest, the covers would suggest “contemporary romance” to me. It’s nice that it’s something different, but it sounds way too confusing.

    Eh, I don’t know. Maybe in the future if I want something light? I like the quotes, though!

    • I thought it was a contemporary before I read it. The thing is, I really like fantasy stories but for a fantasy it was pretty boring. I think I would’ve been okay if more had happened!

      Maybe it will be better when the series is complete and the story is whole? I don’t know! But some of the writing was really pretty!

  2. I can see how you would be thrown off if you didn’t realize it involved another world. I remember when I first saw this one pop up around the blogosphere I just sort of assumed it was another contemp that would bore me, so ignored it. But, I eventually looked into it and realized that it did have this other fantastical world to it. That cover is misleading! I actually won a copy in a giveaway, just haven’t read it yet. I’m still holding hope that I’ll like it, even if you weren’t thrilled by it 🙂 Great review!

    • Yeah, I think I saw it somewhere and didn’t see anything about Elliot’s part. I really like other worlds and anything fantasy/magical, so I think I should’ve liked it anyway. I just wanted more from the story and characters, I think. I hope you enjoy it, though!!

  3. I lent this to my mom because I had an extra copy and she is having a little trouble with it. She’s kind of stubborn so I’m curious to see if she will get through it. She reads 10 pages, waits a long time, goes back, and is just not getting anywhere. haha. I’ve read so many mixed reviews on this but see a lot of love for this writer. I’m so torn. Thanks for the review!

    • I had to set goals for myself with it! I put a post-it note in the middle and I was like “Read to here and you can do something else for a while.” Then I broke it in half again. I completely understand where your mom is coming from, if it wasn’t a library book I’m not sure if I would’ve been able to push through as quickly. I wasn’t the hugest fan of The Year of Secret Assignments, but she does write really well. I think I just wanted more development and more work. If you read it I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for visiting!

  4. “Other worlds with Colors that attack and a magical Butterfly Child?” Wow. I’ve seen the cover around but thought this was a contemporary ya/na.. On the one hand I like strange books, on the other it’s a series and right now I have so many series on my plate. But I might check it out at some point. From your review it sounds interesting, but not interesting enough that I’d rush to get read it. Thanks for the review!

    • Right? I like the cover and she actually wears that outfit, but it is very unrepresentative of the book. There are hints of romance, both characters have romantic interests and issues there, but it’s not at all the main focus of the book. There are more familial and environmental issues, and some acceptance issues. Plus, there’s magic! It’s really interesting but like you said, it’s not a rush to get book. It leaves a big opening for the next book, too.

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