Genres: Contemporary, Magic Realism, Middle GradeRelease Date: September 4th, 2012
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Humorous and heartfelt, this is a story of pairs—of young Naomi and Lizzie, both orphans in present-day Blackbird Tree, USA, and of Sybil and Nula, grown-up sisters from faraway Rook's Orchard, Ireland, who have become estranged.
Young Naomi Deane is brimming with curiosity and her best friend, Lizzie Scatterding, could talk the ears off a cornfield. Naomi has a knack for being around when trouble happens. She knows all the peculiar people in town—like Crazy Cora and Witch Wiggins. But then, one day, a boy drops out of a tree. Just like that. A strangely charming Finn boy. And then the Dingle Dangle man appears, asking all kinds of questions. Curious surprises are revealed—three locked trunks, a pair of rooks, a crooked bridge, and that boy—and soon Naomi and Lizzie find their lives changed forever.
As two worlds are woven together, Creech reveals that hearts can be mended and that there is indeed a gossamer thread that connects us all.
As gorgeous as this book was, I felt let down. Sharon Creech is one of my favorite childhood authors and I’ve been wanting to read this book forever, since it came out to be precise. I remember the excitement I felt when I found out Sharon Creech had a new book out. I added it to my Goodreads, to-read list but like the case with a lot of other books that I placed on the list, it found it’s way to a place on the list that I don’t often check.
When I finally got my hands on the book, I was excited to dive in and I was disappointed when it started to seem that this middle grade book had a situation where two young girls were being torn apart because of there shared interest in one guy. I mean realistically, it’s quite possible. We all had our crushes when we were young, but I just don’t expect stuff like that in middle grade books so I was shocked.
My shock aside, after pondering about the situation a bit, it made me think. Shouldn’t middle grade books also explore certain concepts like this? After all there are young tweens that might read these books looking for some kind of reassurance they aren’t on their own or that the way they feel isn’t abnormal or that boys don’t actually have cooties (we all went through that phase :P)!
Lizzie and Naomi are both wonderful characters and I adored being inside of Naomi’s head. It’s clear that in spite of the way she may present herself, she does want to be loved and doesn’t just want to be a ‘burden’ to Nula and Joe. She wants to know that she matters to them too and it's obvious she was too scared to ask the right question. Especially after seeing the kind of affect Lizzie’s obviously high expectations had on her. Naomi was just such a lovable character and you wanted to hold her and reassure her that everything would be okay.
Lizzie was slightly overwhelming at first but I came to adore her too. She talked a lot and there were times where you, like Naomi, just wanted her to zip it but her innocence made it obvious that she never thought anything but the best of everyone and would never want to hurt anyone. Most of all, Naomi.
I loved the magic realism in this book. It definitely made the book more exciting but at the same time, I wanted so much more. This book is full of so much potential and when I compare it to some of Creech’s other works, I cannot help but find the book lacking.
To add to that, the ending to this book just seemed so unlike Creech. The other books I’ve read by her always ended in a sweet but realistic manner but the ending to this book bordered on unrealistic. There were elements to it that made me smile but other parts of it made me cringe with their perfectness.
Don’t be confused by what I said though, this book still has it’s brutal parts and while I wish they had been given more attention, they do manage to break your heart.
All in all, while I feel a little let down by this book, it’s still a fantastic read and one I won’t hesitate to recommend (unless it’s your first time reading Creech in which case, I’d say start with Walk Two Moons).