Thursday, February 4, 2016

book review: Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson.

Well, folks, it's a miracle. It took me way too long, but I finished a book--my first start-to-finish audiobook, no less! I was going to do this one for an elementary school book club, but plans got changed; I was far enough into the book, though, that I couldn't not finish it. I enjoyed it, so I'm glad I did!

Without further ado: Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson, illustrated by Natalie Andrewson!

Nooks & Crannies
Cover image via Goodreads

For starters, let's talk about the audiobook experience. I'm a complete audiobook n00b, and I have to say I'm not very good at the whole thing. I'm such a visual person, and I absorb things visually with a sort of partial photographic memory thing I have going on, whereas I tend to not retain enough or maintain attention with the audio route. Also, I kind of missed out on getting to see the pictures since this was an illustrated kids' book. All that said, the narrator was fun and did a great job with the voices and the pacing and everything. It took some practice, but I managed to pick up on the ins and outs of audiobook listening. I think the thing for me to get ahold of was that you sort of have to forfeit the ability to digest every tiny detail. You're going for the main gist without every morsel; otherwise you just keep backtracking and re-listening to the same bits over and over, and never get anywhere. It's a very different sort of reading experience for me versus what I'm used to with print. I'm one to reread paragraphs and pages to reabsorb and solidify my retention of small details.

Okay, onto the story itself. I can't really tell too much without giving away the mystery and spoiling the fun, so this will be brief. It's a sort of mixture of Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Clue. It stars a young girl named Tabitha Crum, who is a precocious Victorian wannabe-investigator who is mistreated and unloved by her family (re: Matilda) and whose only friend is a mouse named Pemberly. Tabitha and five other children receive a mysterious invitation to an eccentric countess's mansion, and adventure, mystery, and danger ensue. The book is a bit too-obvious at times, a bit too derivative (even though I do believe that's exactly what the author intended), and surprisingly macabre at points (though I don't complain about that juicy bit). That said, it was an overall fun read and I'd recommend it! Especially for kid lit-loving adults, teens who tend toward younger subject matter within their reading level, and precocious kiddos who can handle a bit of scary suspense and some pretty advanced vocabulary.

4 stars!

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