I’m going to be really honest with y’all. I picked this book up for cover and description of hte structure alone. But I mean, come on. That’s an intriguing and beautiful cover. And as for the structure: this novel is told in two books. Book 1 is read like a normal book, from the front to about halfway through. To read Book 2, the reader has to turn the book over to the back and read from the back cover as if it’s the front. The back cover is very similar to the front in terms of art, as well as the title and author.
The structure of the book was the best thing about it. It was a real Mobius strip of a novel. In Book 1, the main character, a boy named City finds a book also called Long Division that has no author. This novel that the City in Book 1 finds has a character named City who also lives with his grandma and who lives in the same town as him. Further, there’s a character in the found book that has the same name as a girl that has gone missing in the real world. Book 2 is the book that City in Book 1 found. During Book 2, that City starts writing Book 2 and also finds a book named Long Division without an author which is Book 1. You still with me? It’s a lot. And it’s really well done albeit puzzling at times. Overall, on structure alone: 4/5
The writing itself was not my cup of tea. Overall, the themes community, friendship, and racism were consistent across Books 1 and 2. What was less consistent was the humor. The first third of Book 1 was a riot. I laughed at nearly every page, but the humor fell away quickly and/or other issues obscured any potential humor. It felt like all the other characters knew something that City didn’t. In both books. Maybe that’s how kids feel all the time, and I just don’t remember that. But it was deeply frustrating. I, the reader, knew less than what City knew which was next to nothing. There was also a pretty jarring genre shift from Book 1 to Book 2. Overall, on content: 2/5