What the book is about:
Eddie and her sister, Dory, fly to China to visit their mother, an archaeologist. On the flight to the island where their mother is, the plane flies into a terrible storm and the girls are forced to jump. When Eddie awakes several days later, she learns that Dory has been lost. Refusing to believe it, Eddie works to find Dory as her family tries to make her understand that Dory is dead. When an old friend of Eddie’s deceased father shows up, things start to get weird, not the least of which is her discovering a purple panther. Eddie, to the aggravation of everyone around her, continues to insist Dory is alive, and begins to find and piece together clues that leads her on an adventure she never could have imagined.
What I liked:
The storyline is actually quite good and has many elements, which for some reason, I didn’t expect in this Middle Grade book. I knew right away it was for a younger audience and so I kind of expected a much simpler book, but I’m glad Litten dove in further and gave it some good complexity.
The characters are also good, even though they all fit solidly into their prescribed role. What I mean is Eddie is the misunderstood older sister, mom is the bereaved non-listener, etc., so the multi-faceted nature of actual people is missing, but I think that’s totally fine. Even so, I think the characters are interesting and are most importantly, consistent.
The Purple Kitty itself was a really cool element in the story. I don’t want to say too much here, but I found myself surprised by it more than once.
I also REALLY enjoyed the, umm, surprise element in the 2nd half of the book. How lame is this one?? haha! Litten has a really cool surprise element that ties the story lines together and gives us a better understanding of the bad guy and sheds light on a previous tragic incident in Eddie’s family. I just thought it was really cool, so well done.
What I didn’t like:
This is really nitpicky, but I felt the bad guy was TOO obviously a bad guy and Mom was being a real dolt about it. THAT SAID, grief obstructs one’s ability to judge other people, so I can’t be too hard on mom, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of the bad guy line. This could certainly just be a personal preference thing, too, or maybe the bad guy really was just a bad guy and totally rubbed me wrong.
I do think that the book could do with one more edit to clean up a few problem spots, but honestly, I’m not sure that many people BUT fellow writers would see such issues.
Overall thoughts and opinions:
I enjoyed this book. I thought it was a fun read and there were plenty of good surprises within that kept my attention and would certainly keep the attention of a younger audience. I actually plan to pass it on to my 12 year old nephew who is an avid reader.
I don’t usually comment on this (though I should), but I really liked the cover as well! I’m not a drawing artist, so I really appreciate and respect the talents of those who have an artistic ability that way.
I’d certainly recommend this book to kids who like reading and enjoy a bit of fantastical things and I think even adults who like a bit of fantasy would enjoy this book and its story, too.
All this considered, I give the book 4 stars.
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