My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I’ve been reading a lot of mystery lately.
I’ve probably read more mystery in the last month than I have in the rest of my life combined.
And I think I like it.
But this is my one caveat: if you’re going to promise me a mystery, then you’d darn well better deliver the goods. If you’re going to present a twist, then it had better leave me open-mouthed, doubled over, and gasping.
Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff left me shaking my head, rolling my eyes, and feeling cheated.
The premise of the book is that a young boy who lives with his grandfather begins to have strange dreams and memories of his past. He remembers the number eleven, which he thinks is because he’s turning eleven years old. But (dun-dun-DUN!): It’s not!
Possibly because of the previous trauma in his life, Sam is having a hard time learning how to read. He’s the only kid in his class that can’t read very well. One day, he’s in the attic and finds Mack’s secret stash of Sam mementos (“What is this fascination with my Forbidden Closet of Mystery?” – points if you can name that quote), amongst which is a newspaper clipping with a picture of Sam with a headline stating that he’s missing – and has a different last name!!
Since he can’t read the rest of the article, he makes friends with the new girl at school, Caroline, who helps him to read the clipping and research what really happened to him.
I won’t spoil the rest of the mystery, but I will say this: some mystery.
The ending of the book to me was like going to a mystery dinner theater and having the host declare: “And the murdered is someone in this very room!!”
(The audience gasps.)
“By the way, the victim of the murder isn’t actually dead. This is just pretend, people.”
Read the book. You’ll see what I mean.
Ms. Giff got me all riled up for nothing. She promises this huge payoff by working up all this intrigue and tension, and she simply doesn’t deliver.
And this book doesn’t even count as a Cannonball Read because it’s not long enough.
Phooey. I’ll be sticking with Trenton Lee Stewart and Ellen Raskin, thanks.