Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book Review: "Wonderstruck" by Brian Selznick

Note: This review was published today on the SVT Publishing blog; I simply copied and pasted it to share with you here. 

Hello again my fellow bookworms! I hope you enjoyed my first book review in which I talked about the novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick. And I hope that, if you’d never read the book before, I helped convince you that it was worth checking out. I’m curious to know if you found it as tantalizing as I did.

 Of course, I was very happy to discover that Brian Selznick wrote a second novel called “Wonderstruck” – and while it isn’t an outright sequel to “Hugo” per se, it shares the same look and feel of its predecessor. The novel is slightly bigger at 628 pages long, but contains the same tapestry of a beautiful story woven together with Selznick’s original sketch drawings to make one mesmerizing novel.

What’s truly different about “Wonderstruck” is that the novel is a two-for-one deal, with two independent stories being told simultaneously that are brilliantly woven together at the end with a surprising twist. Brian Selznick introduces readers to two endearing children – 12-year-old Ben, whose story takes us back to 1977 and is told entirely with text, and 12-year-old Rose, whose story takes us back even further to the year 1927 and is told solely in pictures.

Both Ben and Rose are unhappy with their lives and wish for change, and although they both think they know what they want out of life, they find themselves unprepared for what life actually brings them. Ben is mourning the death of his mother, has never known his father, and feels as if his relatives don’t really want him around. Rose lovingly chronicles the life of her favorite movie actress in a scrapbook and yearns to get out from underneath her strict father’s grip. It is only when Ben finds a mysterious bookmark inside his mother’s bedroom and Rose reads an intriguing newspaper headline that each child finally decides to embark on their own journey to find that missing piece in their lives. Selznick balances both stories seamlessly; with each turn of the page I not only found myself more and more engrossed in the story but also felt profound empathy for both Ben and Rose – and I continually wondered what the connection, if any, there was between these two kids.

Rose just wants to live a happy life
Of course, the mystery of what Ben and Rose discover about themselves and how Selznick brings both of their stories together is something that you must discover for yourself by reading “Wonderstruck” by Brian Selznick. Once again I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed!

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