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I’m so behind, as usual, on writing up the books I’ve finished. I like having a reference for what I originally thought about a book, but so many details and impressions fade after a week or two has gone by. Oh well. Better late than nothing.
The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones
A suspenseful story, driven by intriguing characters and a well-drawn setting. I was completely absorbed while I read it, partly by the style and partly by trying to figure out where the story was going. This should have a lot of cross-over appeal for adults, and it’s one of those rare young adult novels about college students who are grappling with real issues.
Horror is NOT my thing, but Victorian novels are. And since this is basically a horror story wrapped in Victorian clothing, I was able to stomach the gore and relish the story within a story, the old-fashioned language, and the narrator looking back on his childhood as the assistant to a monstrumologist. Snap to, Will Henry, snap to!
Most of the ick is confined to a few scenes, but it’s often key to the plot. And it’s not supernatural horror – it’s monsters of legend devouring people in very messy ways horror. But oh, I got such a kick out of all the Victorian novel trappings that it made the blood and maggots worthwhile.
Following the lives of three young adults, beginning on September 11, the book is hard to put down. It’s fairly short but packs a punch, and I kept prolonging lunch breaks to read just another page or two. It doesn’t really try to be anything other than a September 11 novel – even the romance takes a back seat to the characters sorting through their feelings about that day – but it succeeds admirably well.
It’s emotional and occasionally wrenching without ever feeling maudlin, and I just realized that even though the teens’ stories are incredibly personal, none of them loses a friend or relative in the attacks. This doesn’t make the story any less emotional, but allows it to focus on loss in a different way than through death. Hmm. Thoughtful and gripping, even though the characters do sometimes talk more like, well, book characters than real teens.