Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, the World – a city of spires, Isaac Newton and Auntie’s Tea Shop.
Baranski lives in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello – where
seasons roam, the Butterfly Child sleeps in a glass jar, and bells warn
of attacks from dangerous Colours.
They are worlds apart – until a crack opens up between them; a corner of white – the slim seam of a letter.
A mesmerising story of two worlds; the cracks between them, the science that binds them and the colours that infuse them.
My thoughts when I saw that Netgalley was offering this book: JACLYN MORIARTY!!!! AND A SPARKLY COVER THAT SCREAMS "OMG CUTENESS"!!!!! So I signed up for the e-arc with absolutely no idea what the book was about because hey, I'm like that when it's an author that I love. Did Moriarty disappoint? NOOOOOO. Is A Corner of White at the top of my JM love list? Well, not quite, but it's up there.
A Corner of White is the story of a boy and a girl from two very different worlds who have a lot in common. Fifteen year old Madeleine is from The World - Cambridge, England to be exact. She and her mother are runaways from a life of luxury. Currently living in a flat where her mother sews and tries unsuccessfully to enter a quiz show, Madeline is home schooled by some quirky neighbors along with two other kids, the very ordinary Belle and Jack. Madeline, as observed from Belle and Jack's point of view, is full of colors, but she's really a sad girl who is attempting to understand why she and her mother ran away from their old life.
Sixteen year old Eliot Baranski comes from a parallel world called Cello. He's described as a top athlete, the town's favorite. He often sets things right with a single swoop of his hand. He refuses to give up his search for his father who went missing after a "color" attack. In him, we see a sort of hero, the kind who always catches the ball (or the butterfly child as the case may be), and we truly expect him to save Madeleine as well.
Through the exchange of letters, Madeleine and Eliot's worlds come together. They learn from each other -- about themselves, about their parents, and about how two very different worlds can be similar. As far as characters go, I thought that both were well done. Madeleine is portrayed as rather naive (yet she's smart) and that totally worked for me; I tend to know a few people like that. She seems much the type to go about doing her own thing, the rest of the world be damned. Yet it seems to come from an inner sense of confusion and loneliness and as the book progresses we see why this is. I think many teens could relate to her in that sense. Eliot also seemed rather independent,though in a much more mature way. I flipped back and forth between liking him and thinking he was too much of everything. Which again, I can see as being the truth for some kids with that sort of personality.
I really enjoyed the whimsical quirkiness of this book, and the lack of a solid plot didn't bother me in the least. I'll admit that I wanted to be in Cello more than Cambridge most of the time because it's when we're in Cello
(either in Eliot's POV or looking at it through one of the many
townspeople's) that the creativity of this book really shines. I mean
who would ever think that colors could be sort of like sentient beings that
attack and sometimes make people do weird things? Certainly colors can affect our moods, but this was like taking that idea and stepping off a cliff with it. And I applaud Moriarty for that. There was a great sense of setting and atmosphere throughout, though I did often wonder what the purpose of some passages were. Like the random newspaper column written by the Cello Princesses and the scenes in the police station. I suppose that I should have trusted Moriarty to pull it all together in the end because she did, but at the time I was kind of scratching my head wondering why those things were important. They were a bit boring to me, tbh, and tragically slowed the pace of the story.
Overall, this book leaves the reader with a sense of hope and positive feelings (sort of like a belief in magic). Since I tend to gravitate toward books/endings like that, it sat well with me despite the slow pace. Final verdict - 5 stars.