Review: The premise of this story intrigued me, in particular, the use of the vintage photographs. Originally, Riggs wanted to do a picture book of the strange photographs, but after collecting them, a story immerged and he wrote this book.
My other reason for picking up this book is a bit more personal. My best friend went to high school with the author, and I spent time in Sarasota, where the author grew up and where the first part of the book takes place. Riggs described Florida as only a true Floridian can. The nuance is impeccable. It was like being back in the fine city.
As for the story, it was complex, amusing, scary, and suspenseful. Riggs accurately depicts the mind and actions of a teenage boy. Told from the viewpoint of Jacob, we follow him from Sarasota to the small island near England, as he searches for answers to the death of his beloved Grandfather. There, he finds pieces to his past, his family – and himself.
With a delightful macabre, a lighthearted strangeness, and a ghoulish heart, this story explores prejudice, history, family, and what makes us who we are. This story is complex enough for adults, but tame enough for middle-school aged readers. Worth reading, particularly for a chilly winter night.
Bookmarks: 8 of 10
Awards: None (although it spend many weeks as a #1 New York Times Bestseller)
Year Published: 2011
Date Finished: 10-7-2016