Retreating from her friends, studies, parents, and the pressures of growing up, Phoebe Van der Clute skips school to escape her problems and is hurled by a mysterious force into the river, where she finds a mysterious chunk of clear glass.
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Grade 5-7?This well-intentioned effort to meld epic adventure with everyday issues is more likely to annoy than enchant. Whitcher plunges directly into her story without effectively establishing the setting or introducing her characters, making it difficult for readers to follow the plot or care about its outcome. The fault is not a lack of inventiveness, but rather an attempt to accomplish too much. The end result is an odd and unsuccessful amalgam of fantasy quest and realistic fiction. Phoebe is unpopular at school, anxious about her father's health, and concerned about her musical abilities. Her desire for a magical solution to her problems is ostensibly fulfilled when she finds a fragment of glass that changes her perspective and catapults her into a series of fractured fairy-tale adventures. Accompanied by a much-maligned neighbor, Tamas, Phoebe battles her own preconceptions and faces up to an evil enchanter. Success comes only after confrontations with mysterious knights, faithless former friends, and freakish fauns, among others. Although Phoebe and Tamas triumph, the book's ending is oddly ambivalent for both wonder how much of their adventure truly happened. Tamas's bold assertion that their experiences have made them "poets"?people who create reality by imagining?seems ironic given the unconvincing narrative that precedes it. Pass on this kaleidoscopic story, but keep an eye open for Whitcher's next work in hopes that it will be a clearer look from her unusual viewpoint.?Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In her first novel, Whitcher (Something For Everyone, 1995, etc.) pens a gripping and unusual story about the intersection of fantasy and reality. While skipping school because the pressures of ordinary life have become too onerous, middle-schooler Phoebe falls off a bridge. She doesn't drown, but washes up in the shallows clutching a mysterious piece of glass, part of a perfect orb. The world looks different through the glass; Phoebe's fussy neighbor, Mr. Barnes, looks like a wizard. Strange things start happening, too. The class outcast, Tam s, turns up in Phoebe's yard in a vastly transformed state. Phoebe and Tam s enter a magical world from their own imaginings, a world that reflects their dreams, assumptions, and misconceptions back to them. As they learn to look beyond appearances and appreciate each other's real selves, they free themselves from the terrifying spell of their imaginary world. Although some of the transitions between the fantasy and reality are a little confusing, most are handled well. Readers who have longed for a little sorcery in their lives will want to think again after finishing this provocative book. (Fiction. 10+) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Harcourt Childrens Books (J), 1996. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0152012451