Friday, January 20, 2012

New Release: The Orphan of Awkward Falls

If you remember, I was really amused by the title of Keith Graves' middle school novel, The Orphan of Awkward Falls, and I put it on my Chronicle Books "Happy Haulidays" list last month. Well, it was sitting right there on the "featured books" shelf of the library so I grabbed it. And while it has a fun idea and some interesting characters, overall I just didn't love it like I thought I would.

Situated in remotest Canada, Awkward Falls is a college/criminal asylum town just like any other. But when twelve year old Josephine and her parents arrive, they step right into a snowy hotbed of escaped lunatics, robot butlers, Frankenstein cats and so much more.

There were certainly elements of this book that I enjoyed. The relationship between Josephine and Thaddeus, the abandoned boy next door, was really interesting and sweet. The whole mad scientist plot was fun too. But overall, the writing was uneven and the dark, sketchy illustrations, though good on their own, were badly placed throughout the book and seemed like a badly-executed imitation of Brian Selznick. I don't know if my hopes were too high for this book or what but I found myself nitpicking as I was reading -- which is never a good sign.

Looking for a bit more,

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