Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Wednesdays by Julie Bourbeau

Max is a clod. Even moreso than me, so of course, I loved him from the get-go. He turns blue after swimming, locks himself in a garbage can, dumps oil on his hair, and best yet... he sets his mom's hair on fire. As the queen of kitchen fires I particularly like stumbling across a character with disasters of monstrous proportions. It reminds me of the kids who love Junie B. Jones - she's so dumb it makes them feel smart. Max is so accident prone it makes me feel graceful.  Except Max is really being plagued by a Gremlin-like creature called, "The Wednesdays." Creatures that transform children into monsters who play mean tricks on humans. When the Wednesdays claim Max as their next victim, he puts forth a plan to stop their caper.

This fun read has a dark side that appeals to those who want a little scare, balanced with humor. The parapsychologist is a silly buffoon at first who actually helps Max resolve his situation at the end. He's great fun. Other characters are engaging and well-done with Max changing from a care-free mischievous boy to one who fights for his freedom. He also tries to understand the Wednesdays and even makes a connection with some so that they help him in his quest. The villain is one-dimensional and I found many of my questions unanswered as to why he was scarred and less human than the other Wednesdays.

The setting of Mount Tibidabo didn't come alive for me, but because the characters did, I didn't find myself distracted from the story. It just felt somewhat incomplete. I love the unique beauty of Barcelona's landscape and architecture, especially with cathedrals. I wanted to hear the squawking, obnoxious green parrots in Max's town, the church bells scattering pigeons as they rang, and see the beautiful fuschia bougainvilleas hanging like carpets down the sides of iron fences. These are my memories of Barcelona and I sort of wished the author had just made up any 'ole name for the town rather than use Tibidabo - then my brain would have stopped expecting more in the setting descriptions. I'm sure most readers won't notice this.

The plot has some interesting twists with Mr. Grimsrud and the little brother that kept me turning the pages. I did wonder at the end how the Wednesdays transformed and where the power source came from that caused their transformation. This debut novel leaves some loose ends that are not explained at the end. Perhaps a sequel is in order and that is why the explanation doesn't occur. Either way, this is a fun fantasy read. Enjoy!

Reading Level 5.8

3 out of 5 Smileys

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