cbr11bingo: Readers Choice (swapping in the COLLECTION square)
Twelve-year-old Granite Flowerpetal doesn’t love his name, even though his father named him Granite to grant him strength. He tries to rebrand himself as “Gran” and while it does take on, he quickly has second thoughts. But his new identity is only one piece of his jumbled up life. His parents, seeking new work for his father, have moved them to the Flowerpot family hometown and house, in a town whimsically named Carousel after the craft of carousel-making that once made the town so famous and beloved. But with technology came faster, more exciting rides, and when carousels fell out of style, so did the town and the carousel-making factory that supported it. This was both a literal and figurative drop — the factory actually fell into a sinkhole after its closure. So did the carousel outside the town hall. In fact, the town has been seemingly cursed by the natural phenomenon.
The town is miserable, so it’s fitting that the Flowerpot family is miserable too. So when Gran spies a spunky classmate he’s crushing on materialize a door to an underground world of tunnels and learns about her odd quest to save the town, he sticks to her side no matter how much she pushes back. He wants to be a lifter like her. But can they make a difference before the whole town sinks with the weight of its misery?
This was my first read of Eggers work. Spoiler alert: I did not like it very much. I think the plot was pretty original and he has a clever way of writing for sure. But the pacing of the book is all off – he writes these bizarre EXTREMELY short chapters (over 100 chapters in a 336 page book). I usually like short chapters – they can help move the book along when done right. But he ends his at very weird moments and then picks the action right up again, leaving me the reader to think “what even was the point of this interruption?” I also felt like the book was 90% theme and 10% action, and the mythology of what the Lifters do is pretty friggin sketchy at best. The adults in the story are very frustrating, in a Lemony Snicket sort of way. But I do like the story of redemption for the town and its citizens.