This book has two plot lines running through it, so, instead of trying to intermingle my summary of the two lives, I will just separate them, but, you should be aware that they are intermingled.
Madeleine Tully is a fourteen year old girl living in England. She, once upon a time, had money, but that time has passed. And, now she finds herself in a new place, which she finds very "grey", and ordinary. One day, she finds a note slipped in a sidewalk crack by a parking meter. It reads, "Help, I am being held against my will." She thinks this is a little strange and starts writing notes back. She is not quite sure what to think when the person who responds claims that he is from a kingdom called Cello. The entire time she is writing notes back and forth with this mysterious person, her mother appears to be getting crazier. She is not quite sure what to do with her now up-side-down life, and has to find ways to cope.
Elliot Baranski is a fifteen year old boy from the kingdom of Cello. He is an everyday adventurous boy who goes out to find his missing dad. In this kingdom, magical things happen all the time. They have all of the fairy tale creatures that you dreamed up as a kid, and more. The kingdom of Cello appears to be in a dome of some sort, keeping it separate from the world. But, on occasion, this dome is known to have cracks in which you can communicate with the world. One day, while cleaning out his father's old workplace, he finds a note in a broken TV. When he reads it, he finds a most confusing note that mentions a girl who is "also being held against her will". He starts to write back to her, and realizes that she is from the world, only she doesn't think that he is telling the truth. She does not seem to not know about the kingdom of Cello, and keeps pretending that he is making up his own little world in his head. With this turn of events, he learns who he is, and who he can really trust.
This book is really voicey. And, it really is a "hoot" to read out loud.
"Writing now from the Emerald Carriage, Ko and I (for it is I, Princess Jupiter, who writes this passage)--are thrown back and forth, our glasses of bubbling teakwater spilling so--ah! there goes a drip smudging the paper!--can you see it?! [Editor's note: For obvious reasons, you cannot.] . . . WHO WILL BE NEXT?! Only one more person to choose! Could it be somebody we are going to meet this very day? . . . Or could it be you, sweet reader?! (Assuming you are young. I suppose older people read this paper too. Yes. They would.)"
With all of the voice, and the mystery of the book, with a few facts mixed in, this book keeps you wary of what might happen next. I especially like how trendy this book is. So, if you were looking for a classic, this is far from one, but, it is a really good book. A lot of people reviewing the book are saying that it is for younger YA, but it is not. I would give it to a 6th grader, and expect them to enjoy it. So, for grade designation, I would put it at 5th-7th grade. Any older than that, and they probably won't appreciate the quirkiness of the book.
I just want to put in a little "hooray!" for the cover. Madeleine looks just like she should look. Her outfit is word for word correct, except the omitted head band, and the age is just a little bit old, but close enough. This is the best cover I have seen all year! But, you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.
A Corner of White
by Jaclyn Moriarty
published by Arthur A. Levine Books
Recommended for ages 10-13