This is a very original story that combines fantasy and reality in a book about family, life, and death.
Chapter book, fiction, fantasy
Interest level: grades 4 through 7
YHBA 2017-2018 intermediate nominee
5 out of 5 stars
The strengths of this book lie in a very unique setting and a cast of characters who show a family in all of its good times and weaknesses.
The setting is a version of Earth with a twist. The world that the Lockwood family lives on has many of the features we know — towns, forests, Taco Bells, Maine, the Grand Canyon — but it’s a flat earth. And it is inhabited by every mythical, fantastical, or supernatural being you can think of. Dragons, sasquatch, mermaids, ghosts, giants, fairies, unicorns, and Medusa inhabit the US.
The story starts to unfold as we learn that Dark Clouds visit people and take them away when it is time for them to die. A Dark Cloud has come and is sitting outside the Lockwood home.
Gracie is the main character and narrator of the story. The story is told somewhat in diary form, but Gracie tells us near the beginning that she is going to try to make it sound more like a novel. so while each chapter begins with a new date, the text doesn’t read like stereotypical “Dear Diary” entries.
Gracie’s family consists of her older sister, younger brother, mother, and quirky father. The father is a meteorologist who loves science and physics, and often lives in his own brain. When the Dark Cloud shows up, the family knows that it has come for Sam, Gracie’s younger brother. Mr. Lockwood believes they can save Sam from the Dark Cloud by traveling to the edges of the world and then jumping off to the Extraordinary World, which we come to learn is the Earth we live in, without mythical creatures and Dark Clouds.
As the family undertakes this journey, they must learn a lot about themselves as individuals, but also who they are as a team. Is Mr. Lockwood crazy and grasping straw in his belief of an Extraordinary World? Will they be able to save Sam?
This is a longer novel, 419 pages, but it is full of suspense, action, and humor. Readers who enjoy fantasy might enjoy this book, but it is also about life, love and family, so reality fiction fans will enjoy it too.
A 4th grade student bought this book at the book fair, and then returned a few days later to buy an additional copy. She had enjoyed the book so much, consumed it in two days, and wanted an additional copy to share with her friends. I highly recommend My Diary from the Edge of the World.
My Diary from the Edge of the World
by Jodi Lynn Anderson