Many moons ago, when I got invited to participate in the Medina Hill Book Blog Tour, I convinced Kayla that she totally should read it along with me so we could chat about it.
This is how our conversations went every couple weeks in the 2 months leading up to today’s post.
In any event, I finally read the book and we discussed.
Here is the official blurb from the publisher:
Janssen: But frankly, that was pretty much the only success for me.
Kayla: Also agreed. The whole thing just fell kind of didn’t it? And it was really slow for a children’s book.
Janssen: Exactly. It was made worse, perhaps, by the potential this plot had. I mean, you couldn’t ask for more than this book offered up (except maybe romance, but I’ll let my personal preferences slide because this is a children’s book) – crazy characters, a father suffering the effects of war, gypsies, a treasure hunt, a COOKING CONTEST, but I never felt like it really all came together. It was just too much; a classic case of too much width, not enough depth. It spread itself too thin, without making me care much about any of the characters, and it resolved itself too quickly.
Kayla: Exactly, the climax felt really unsatisfying and I would have loved to hear more about the quirky boarders. There was a whole lot more story there that just didn’t get told. I do think I would like to know what happened to the gypsies. I was very concerned when they moved CLOSER to Hitler at the end of the book. A follow-up book on the Romany during WWII would probably be worth reading. The thing is, I think Trilby Kent has a lot of potential. The ideas were there. I think she just needs to give herself more pages to really delve into her characters and possibly write for a slightly older audience (like shooting for older YA rather than middle grades).
Overall, we felt some kids will find a lot to like here, but it’s going to need to be a very dedicated reader who is willing to accept the slowish pace. It’s really the kind of book we could see a kid reading and then going off hunting for some books about Lawrence of Arabia. And we wouldn’t blame him one bit since that’s totally what we’re planning on doing.
To continue on with the Let’s Tour Medina Hill book blog tour, please visit Carrie’s YA Bookshelf!