Madeleine and her mom ran away from their former life. Madeleine was always running away from the jetset life that she had with her parents and on the last attempt, her mother just came with her and they never looked back. Now, months later, she is starting to miss her dad and parts of her old life. Then she finds a note tucked into a crack in a parking meter that reads “Help me! I am being held against my will!” and thus begins her rather odd relationship with Elliot. Elliot lives in the Kingdom of Cello and spends all his time searching for his father, who disappeared over a year ago, on the same night his uncle was killed. When he finds the strange letter from the Girl In The World, he knows he should report the crack, but instead replies and is more than a little intrigued by this strange girl.
This really is the hardest type of book to review for me. It wasn’t amazing. It wasn’t terrible. It was just somewhere in the middle, which means it didn’t earn much passion from me and passion is a big part of where my reviews come from. Generally, I adored it or I hated it and very few things fall in the middle ground for me, like this did. I found it to be boring, especially for the first 200 pages, and confusing. Plus, I didn’t like the main girl…at all.
Madeleine just seemed selfish. She hangs out with Belle and Jack, but she really doesn’t like them that much and she wishes they weren’t so boring. Her mom displays obvious signs that something is wrong with her, but instead of insisting she see a doctor, Maddy here just writes it off. Another big annoyance with her is that she blatantly refuses to believe in even the possibility that Elliot’s world of Cello is real. I get that the whole idea is insane, but it’s stupid to just assume he’s telling a story even when he argues with you. Elliot, on the other hand, I liked….for the most part. He’s fierce determination to find his father was inspiring, but he does a few stupid things so I’m not entirely in love with him and he’s definitely not going to be added to my list of swoon worthy YA males. The rest of the characters in Cello are interesting, but wholly boring…except the Sheriff who is just stupid. Seriously, I can’t believe they never fired him and appointed Jimmy, his deputy as his replacement. The people in the “real world” are a little better. Jack and Belle at least both seem reasonably intelligent. I actually really liked Jack because he seemed so sweet. Madeleine’s mother, Holly, was a character that I’m on the fence about, but since we have already established that it’s clear she has some form of undiagnosed medical problem, I’ll let her slide.
One big issue I had with this was that in Cello, the biggest threat are attacks of colour.
I could have gotten past this, had the concept been fully explained. How do you get attacked by a color?!?!? Is it a type of animal over there? Does a mist of said color just float to you and do its damage? Is it like in that shitty movie The Mist where strange creatures live in a colored mist and they eat you if you get too close? I DON’T FUCKING UNDERSTAND! I kept reading for a while just to see if we would get any sort of explanation but we don’t. I also have issues with the fact that this novel is described as funny and it definitely wasn’t. I may have chuckled once or twice, but I definitely didn’t keel over with laughter. For me, a funny novel is something I just can’t stop giggling at.
On the whole, I think maybe I missed something in this novel. I felt like I wasn’t completely grasping what was happening in Cello. Hopefully someone else out there will love this novel, but it just wasn’t for me.
****Thank you to Arthur A Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****