Thursday, January 12, 2017

Review: The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser

Release date: January 3, 2017
Author info: Website | Facebook
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher provided for review
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
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 the cost.
Well, poo. I was really excited to read this one, because... I mean, could anyone reading this review not adore the idea of being able to jump into books? Of course the synopsis reminded me of Inkheart, but there have been a few different books recently about people going into books and characters coming out of them, so I figured something being published now would have its own unique spin on the idea. And there are definitely some unique things about The Book Jumper, but those couldn't save it for me.

I generally refuse to DNF books. Instead, I skim from whatever point I've lost interest. I think I was around a third of the way through this when I could barely motivate myself to read anymore. So, I skimmed. I'm glad I finished the story, because there were a couple of interesting surprises in store--who the bad guy is, much of the ending in general--but I'm also glad I didn't fully read all of that, either.

I have a few problems with The Book Jumper. First, I think it reads too young. Largely, if the romance had been removed, it would've been a perfectly decent middle grade novel. Amy is impetuous and immature, and she'd be a more likable protagonist if she were a few years younger. She only considers the repercussions of her actions once things start to go very wrong, and I couldn't help but wonder what kind of book lover would go tramping through their favorite stories without any regard toward how their actions would affect the books.

Second, some of the specifics of book jumping felt cheesy? I think, again, they'd not feel quite this way if this were a MG novel. The idea of the margins were interesting, and I kind of liked the visuals of the book's characters chilling off to the side of the story--but this almost cheapens the magic of books to me.

Third, the romance actually feels out of place anyway. I never felt any real chemistry between Amy and Will, and, as I said, you could get rid of it and the book would be stronger for it. It only works to give a little bit more emotional heft--which I didn't feel was all that strong to begin with.

Honestly, upon finishing The Book Jumper, I only felt ambivalence. There are a couple of good points, and I think there's some charm to the world and setup, but I couldn't heartily recommend much of anyone read it. It stinks, because that cover is fabulous. (And, to me, the best part of the book.)

About the author:

Mechthild Gläser is an award-winning author in her native Germany. The Book Jumper is her first book to be translated into English.

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