Holy cow. Jacqueline West, you have written a delightfully delicious fantasy story. This is a book you cannot put down until the very last page-compulsively readable!
While I was sad to turn to that last page, I'm heartened to know that there is a second one coming around soon enough. The Collectors is the first in a planned two-book series.
You've gotta love the world she weaves: dream eaters that remind you of Gremlins, a lovable, easily distracted squirrel, and its main characters, Van and Pebble, with whom you want to be friends. The secondary characters are equally well drawn: the mysterious Mr. Falborg and Van's opera singing mother are standouts.
The fact that I haven't yet mentioned Van's hearing impairment (until now, mind you) tells you that West carefully and skillfully wound that part of his persona into the plot. I especially liked that HE did not wish for that to be altered <sorry, spoiler alert>.
As an elementary Language Arts teacher, I am forever grateful to writers like Jacqueline West who write UP to this age group of readers. Her word choice, world building and hidden messages, or so-whats, indicate a deep respect for her readers.
And what might be some little life lessons tucked away, you wonder? While there are many, the two I plan on focusing on when our book club meets next month are BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR and LIFE IS FULL OF GREY AREAS.
Highly recommended for the 8-12 year old crowd!
Now, I'm just waiting to hear about the movie deal in the works...
"Wishes are extraordinarily hard to control."
"---could you understand something deeply enough that you could no longer take either side at all?"