Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 432 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Told in diary form by an irresistible heroine, this playful and perceptive novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the May Bird trilogy sparkles with science, myth, magic, and the strange beauty of the everyday marvels we sometimes forget to notice.My Diary From The Edge Of The World is the story of family. A family going through the usual ups and downs of any family. Offering instantly relatable characters in a world filled with wonder and whimsy. This delightful combinations blends together a fantasy like feel with incredibly realism completely immersing you into the story.
Spirited, restless Gracie Lockwood has lived in Cliffden, Maine, her whole life. She’s a typical girl in an atypical world: one where sasquatches helped to win the Civil War, where dragons glide over Route 1 on their way south for the winter (sometimes burning down a T.J. Maxx or an Applebee’s along the way), where giants hide in caves near LA and mermaids hunt along the beaches, and where Dark Clouds come for people when they die.
To Gracie it’s all pretty ho-hum…until a Cloud comes looking for her little brother Sam, turning her small-town life upside down. Determined to protect Sam against all odds, her parents pack the family into a used Winnebago and set out on an epic search for a safe place that most people say doesn’t exist: The Extraordinary World. It’s rumored to lie at the ends of the earth, and no one has ever made it there and lived to tell the tale. To reach it, the Lockwoods will have to learn to believe in each other—and to trust that the world holds more possibilities than they’ve ever imagined.
Having only read Jodi Lynn Anderson's young adult novels prior to this, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was ecstatic to find her trademark prose, and heart wrenching plots within these pages. This novel doesn't underestimate it's target audience, and offers them a smart, emotional read that my younger self would have devoured. This is a perfect read for an older middle grade audience. The world begs for future novels to be written and the characters are so vivid that you won't want to leave them when you turn the final page.
Gracie's voice is filled with insightful humour. She's observant in the way that most children her age are. She also perfect straddles that line between childhood and almost adolescence. She's losing some of her child like innocence and even comments that her ability to play make believe just isn't what it used to be. She's growing up, but isn't quite ready to say goodbye to childhood just yet. The age that this is targeted to will immediately feel a connection to Gracie as they will recognize these feelings in themselves, and her wit and charm will win over any reader.
The Lockwood family is your average family. They have their struggles, but they fiercely love each other. Jodi Lynn Anderson has a real talent for crafting fully realized characters that are filled with incredible depth. This novel is no exception. The journey this family takes, without of the fantasy elements, is one that could be at home in a contemporary novel. They learn to trust each other, and the importance of working together to solve problems. They also learn that heartbreaking things sometimes happen, and that they can draw strength from each other. It was also refreshing to see parents seen as imperfect, but doing their best. The entire thing just a brushstroke of realism that captured my attention in a way that not even the whimsical elements did.
The world the Lockwood's call home is both recognizable and foreign. It's our world but filled with dark storm clouds who come to claim those who are dying, fairies, ghosts, dragons and so much more. The world building feels effortless and vividly comes to life through the writing. It's a world that is easy to be immersed in, and one that offers unlimited potential for future stories within the same world.
A whimsical novel filled with fantasy elements that twist with a contemporary feel. Jodi Lynn Anderson charms with a novel that is perfectly poised to appeal to both children and adults. It's a read that leaves a lasting impression in typical Jody Lynn Anderson fashion and one that will fully capture your imagination.