Review originally published here
.Why I Read It:
It was the July selection for calico_reaction's Theme Park book club. Prior to that though, I did have an interest in it, though I didn't know much about it.
Wow. What a delightful book. Seriously, there was something about this book that's incredibly enchanting and sucks you right in, even though there really isn't a whole lot going on in the story action-wise.
The main character Mori is someone I think I could have been best friends with when I was younger. Like her, I was a bit of a social outcast who had a hard time talking to people and would much rather be reading a book. Books never let me down, and they never let Mori down either. Even though I didn't read science fiction when I was fourteen, I think we could have had a lot of fun exchanges books and talking about them together. Walton captured that feeling of wonder and excitement that most people feel when they discover reading, and reading about that in a character was awesome.
As I mentioned above, there is very little action in this book. It's in diary-format where Mori just jots down her thoughts and feelings of the day, and she'll usually talk about what book/s she's reading as well. Even though I didn't know half the books she was talking about (I wish there had been a list at the end of the book that listed every book mentioned, but alas, there was not), I still found myself interested in her thoughts on whatever she happened to be reading. I found myself getting excited when she had a book club meeting, or when Saturdays rolled around and she got to pick up her library holds and then go eat a honey bun. It was bizarre to be so enthralled by such menial things, but it was also really... pleasant.
The fantasy aspects of the novel were treated very matter-of-fact by Mori: she sees and talks to fairies and her mother has gone mad from using too much magic (I think.) I found it kind of odd that the story begins after a lot of big events happen in Mori's life (her sister's death and the circumstances surrounding it; running away from her mother; etc.), but it's easy to get by. As I mentioned above, I loved reading about Mori's day-to-day life anyway.
I was a little concerned about Mori's relationships with other women: she doesn't speak to her mother; she doesn't get along with her father's step-sisters; she has no friends at school, and when she does befriend any, she usually becomes estranged by them for one reason for another; Janine (a friend outside of school) isn't talking to her by the end of the book. She is friends with Deirdre, but she doesn't appear to be particularly fond of her. She does have a good relationship with her aunt Teggy though. But still, it was something that was slightly disconcerting.Final Verdict:
This was a delightful novel about a young SF obsessed girl, and I found myself pleasantly surprised by how engrossed I was in her diary entries. There's not a whole lot of action, but reading about Mori's day-to-day happenings still managed to be captivating and kept my eyes glued to the page. Also, how can you not relate and like such a voracious reader? I was not nearly as smart as Mori at fourteen, nor did I read SF, but I think we could have been good friends if she existed. Even if you're not an ardent SF/F fan, I think anyone who loves reading will enjoy this quiet novel, and relate to that feeling of wonder and discovery associated with reading.