The first book from author Mechthild Gläser translated into English caught my eye with a unique premise sure to capture the child reader hidden deep inside. Narrated by Mary Sarah, please read on for my review of
The Book Jumper
A treasure of a story with an amazing premise sure to tickle the fancy of every reader out there: Gläser’s story is not without issues, but I’m torn between wondering how much do they actually matter to the feel of the story, and did the blurb promise something that was, ultimately, unimportant. Amy Lennox and her mother Alexis live in Germany, away from the little Scottish island where Alexis grew up. When her mother decides that they will return to Scotland after a bad breakup, the story starts to take interesting twists. See, there are only two families on Stormsay: Lennox and Macalister, and in a convenient device, they don’t get along. But it is Amy’s grandmother Mairead who insists that Amy read – in ways that only those on Stormsay can: by jumping.
Book Jumping: what a lovely way to spark imagination and show the joys of being lost in a story. Amy is in the books she reads: interacting with the stories as if she were written in. If you’ve ever been a reader who loses track of time, thinks about the characters after the last page, or even finds (or found) yourself imagining your place and actions in a fictional world: these moments are sparkling examples of deft writing, plotting and imagination. Gläser excels in the creation of Amy and her discoveries: her point of view and approach are spot-on, she melds with the stories she inhabits and shares that magic with everyone.
Yet there were problems: the mystery hinted at in the synopsis was quickly and rather conveniently resolved, even as the ideas behind the thefts from the story were cleverly placed and offered plenty of options to drop clues and misdirect those intent on solving the mystery. Amy’s mother Alexis, is described as young but what is missing from her is the empathy gene. Spoilt and rather cold, she’s not particularly endearing – a trait that works well to show Amy’s desire to retreat in books and hints at a general unfitness for parenthood and a happy life. Other characters appear and disappear at random, and the underlying tension from the Lennox / Macalister struggles and competition wind through, adding a bit of misdirection that ultimately remains rather nebulous in the impression.
Narration for this story is provided by Mary Sarah, and I think I have found a new favorite! Her ability to present appropriate accents, distinguish characters and allow the moments to take center stage without over-working emotions or tone gave the story a sense of solidity and presence. Amy becomes real and tangible with the combination of writing and performance, and her approach to each new adventure carries a sense of excitement and wonder. Each character is presented clearly, bringing the listener the ability to understand and feel what each is to bring to the story. Dangerous or questionable intentions are easy to recognize, as are the excitement and wonder woven through the story. A favorite listen for me for the writing and promise in the concept, the sense of Amy and her journey and the clear presentation that kept me engaged and hanging on every word.
Stars: 4 Narration 5 Story 4
Title: The Book Jumper
Author: Mechthild Gläser
Narrator: Mary Sarah
Published by: Feiwel & Friends, Tantor Audio
Published on: 20 July, 2017
Source: Tantor Audio
Audio Length: 8 Hours: 15 minutes
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Amy Lennox doesn't know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother's childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.
Amy's grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy's new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever cost.
A copy of this title was provided via Tantor Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: