November 7, 2010

Book Review: The Hole in the Wall and Contest

Title: The Hole in the Wall
Author: Lisa Rowe Fraustine
Publisher: Milkweed
Pages: 212

From Goodreads
Eleven-year-old Sebby has found the perfect escape from his crummy house and bickering family: The Hole in the Wall. It’s a pristine, beautiful glen in the midst of a devastated mining area behind Sebby’s home. But not long after he finds it his world starts falling apart: his family’s chickens disappear, colors start jumping off the wall and coming to life, and after sneaking a taste of raw cookie dough he finds himself with the mother of all stomachaches. When Sebby sets out to solve these mysteries, he and his twin sister, Barbie, get caught in a wild chase through the tunnels and caverns around The Hole in the Wall — all leading them to the mining activities of one Stanley Odum, the hometown astrophysicist who’s buying up all the land behind Sebby’s home. Exactly what is Mr. Odum mining in his secret facility, and does it have anything to do with the mystery of the lost chickens and Sebby’s stomachache? The answers to these questions go much further than the twins expect.
My Review
I'll be honest and say it took me a bit to get into to this book.  It was mostly the the voice of the narrator, Sebby.   Because it's told through the voice of an 11 year old boy it could b hard to follow.  At first I had a hard time following the way this character talked and some of the ways things were described.  I found myself having to reread a few parts to get them straight.  If you've ever hung around 11 year old boys you'll know that they don't always talk in the most linear fashion! But as I got use to the way Sebby talked and the story really got going, I got pulled into it much more. 

There is a lot of mystery in this story.  What exactly is Mr. Odum mining out of the land that surrounds them?  Where did their brother Jed go and why? What happened to those chickens???? Trying to see where those all go kept my interest as well as trying to figure out how, if at all, they were all linked.  And as Sebby and his twin sister Barbie get some answers more questions form, so the mystery kept getting deeper and deeper.  To me the oddest mystery was what was happening to Sebby's body.  Without giving anything away I'll say the part about his back freaked me out just a little! I didn't want to see him end up like the chickens.  Another part that freaked me out and had me wishing I could control the characters and send them back to bed was the whole scene with the cuckoo clocks! I hate when characters wander outside in the middle of the night!

In the end I was satisfied with how the mystery was solved.  There were a few things that seemed wrapped up a bit to nicely but that is how fiction works sometimes.  I am still a bit confused as to what Mr. Odum expected to gain from what was being mined and what he was doing with it, but I don't think the target audience would be as bother by it.

BTW Loved Grum - their grandma.  Wish there had been more of her!

Final thought: Nice mystery that kept me thinking.
Best stick-with-you image: Those cuckoo clocks!
Best for readers who: will stick with a book that takes some getting use to
Best for ages: 10-13

I picked up an extra copy of the ARC at Kidlit Con, so if you'd like a chance to read The Hole in the Wall fill out the form. 
+1 entry for commenting on Lisa's guest post.  See it HERE.
Ends November 22.
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  1. Whaaaat?! The summary alone confused me! I haven't heard of The Hole in the Wall before but now you've definitely piqued my curiosity...

  2. Your review really has me wondering about this character and the story. Cuckoo clocks-creepy!

  3. OMG I love your point about wandering alone at night. I am always yelling at characters not to do that.

  4. Juju! It's one of the issues I have with scary movies! I want to yell at them to stop!