Wednesday, January 16, 2013

No Passengers Beyond this Point by Gennifer Choldenko

This book starts out sounding like any of a number of social issues books.  A divorced mother abruptly informs her three children that they are losing the house to foreclosure.  The the mother has arranged for the kids to live with their uncle while she finishes the school year as a teacher and tries to arrange for a new living situation.  The kids--India, a self absorbed teenage girl, Finn, an anxious preteen boy, and  Mouse, astute little girl with an imaginary friend--each respond to the trauma in a different way.  Once they get on the plane to fly to their uncle's house in Colorado, the whole story kind of goes topsy-turvy.  They end up in a strange, surreal, place called Bird City. At first it seems like the ideal home that they never had, but, of course, they each discover, some sooner than others, that it is not a place they want to stay.  The story gets stranger and stranger as it goes along, and the ending is very trippy.  The whole book reminded me of the crazy dreams/hallucinations, I have when I faint (I am, unfortunately, an occasional fainter.) Needless to say, this book was a disappointment.  I really liked Choldenko's book Al Capone Does My Shirts.  The characters in that book were vivid and believable.  In this book, Choldenko gets so caught up in the crazy story line that the characters turn out flat and unsympathetic.  Also, the plot has too many loose threads.  The reader never finds out what connection most of the trippy part of the story has to the reality part of the story.  Who and what is Sparky?  What is the little wrist screen and what are all the different clocks about?  We never find out.  (244 p)

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