Author: Mechthild Glaser
Publishing Date: 2017
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Where do I even begin? This book was amazing from the very start. Glaser doesn’t bother waiting to catch your attention, she brings Sherlock Holmes (one of my all time favorite characters) into the picture from the very first page. I fell in love with Amy quite quickly considering how easily I could relate to her as a book lover. Early on, when her and her mother are packing to leave Germany she says “the way I saw it, it was better to take one less cardigan than have to do without one of my favorite books.” That has “me” written all over it, especially since I’m known to bring a separate suitcase for books!
As we get to know Amy, we discover she is clumsy, and often times referred to as a “little giraffe,” by her mom Alexis. She has a love for food, even going as far as to stating “that was why [she] lived [her] life by a simple motto: never pass up an opportunity to eat anything greasy.” She’s fun, and though initially timid, is extremely passionate and develops into a bold individual.
During Amy’s time in Stormsay, she discovers she’s a Book Jumper, and begins taking lessons by jumping at the stone walkway, the Porta Litterae, the entrance to the world of stories. She quickly learns that as a book jumper, it is vital she protect the plots of these books at all costs. If Amy were to intervene at any point, for example, by providing food for Oliver Twist instead of him following the plot and asking for a second helping, it would appear in every edition of the book ever printed (e-copies included.) The book world is clearly not a place for children to play, and is to be taken very seriously.
Unfortunately, not everyone on Stormsay was taking things as seriously as they should have. I found Alexis’ behavior, Amy’s mother, appalling. At times I would begin wondering where Amy’s Mother was, and I’d remember she was present, but was more-so a roommate, or an equal to Amy. Alexis said that when she ran away, pregnant, that she wasn’t ready to be a mom, so when she gave birth to Amy, she taught her to call her Alexis. Though I understand struggling with your identity as a mother, and I can even understand how you’d question raising your child in different ways, I don’t understand how you could completely eliminate “mom” from their vocabulary. Often times I truly felt that Alexis behaved selfishly, and immaturely. She was more focused on her hurts, and her feelings, and her love life, than she was on the safety and protection of her daughter in what Alexis said was a “dangerous” world.
When Amy first arrives to Stormsay she meets 3 men with vicious burn scars on their faces. Desmond, Glenn, and Clyde are fictional characters who, after their story was destroyed in a horrible fire at the hand of the Macalister and Lennox houses feuding, became teachers to the following generations of book jumpers. They are able to live and maintain in the real world but must nap every few hundred years. They are the only known survivors of the story that had been destroyed.
In the novel, we also meet Will – a very dreamy, witty, intelligent, and kind book jumper. Throughout the story we see a well-paced romance develop between Amy and Will. I truly had such a good time watching their love unfold. They were beautiful, modest, and genuine. I was appreciative that Glaser didn’t hold out too long in the story, however, I wasn’t prepared for everything to unfold the way it did.
I think it’s safe to say the ending of this book ruined me… More than anything it felt like a cop out. I honestly felt like Glaser didn’t want to write a sad ending, but also didn’t want to write a traditional fairy tale ending either. I can understand that, and can even respect it, but this ending was just… too much. Once we finish this tale, and have hunted down the thief stealing the main ideas of stories we come to find out it’s the same princess from Desmond’s tragic story come back to haunt the world.
This nine-year-old bratt (really about 500 years old,) threw the largest tantrum of her life and actually caused the death of Will, forcing him to commit suicide so that he didn’t kill Amy. Amy goes into complete and utter shock, and then jumps out of this story and into Peter Pan, Will’s favorite, in which Tinkerbell preserves him eternally as a Book Character. No worries, right? He’ll be like Desmond, Glenn, and Clyde (characters preserved from a story burned long ago.) Will, will be able to live in the real world with Amy, but as a fictional character, which is no big deal, because she’s half fictional.
*Buzzer Blows* WRONG. This magic only preserves his life in Peter Pan and IF he ever left, he would die.
WHAT EVEN AM I READING AT THIS POINT?
The ending felt lazy, and as if Glaser was trying to be unique, so she added this “different” ending that I personally think just botched the whole story.
Overall I do believe that the story was beautifully written. It was full of detailed imagery, genuine emotion, and well written characters. Personally, I had qualms with Alexis, and with the ending, but otherwise found it to be a good read. Glaser caused my heart rate to quicken, my mouth to dry, and my eyes to read at the speed of light during moments when I needed answers. It was a journey I dare not say I’ll ever forget.
Thank you for reading my thoughts, and feel free to message me anywhere if you’d like to discuss your thoughts on this novel with me!