Why you should read The Kneebone Boy
The Kneebone Boy, a wonderful, darkly funny and well-written middle-grade novel by Ellen Potter, came out in September and was a Cybils finalist. Also, it’s meta-fiction (which means it knows it’s a book, something I really like); also, it’s original and I’m reading SO MUCH at the moment that it’s getting easier and easier to see when something truly is its own, unique, one-of-a-kind beast. You want to understand what voice is? Read a dozen books and see which ones linger on your mental palate. They have voice. (That’s my very precise, scientific explanation of something unquantifiable. I might have another go at the whole idea of ‘voice’ another time.)
Back in the autumn, I wrote a review of it over at Young Adult Books Central which you can read here. Here’s an excerpt:
The Kneebone Boy, by Ellen Potter, lets you in on a secret too—on many secrets, really. Along the way, there are mechanical rats, hidden passages, a mighty dragon-slayer, Fluffernutter sandwiches, a deposed Sultan, missing relatives, a local legend and three resourceful, intelligent children—and all around and through the story, like a wisp of fog, slinks the sense that the world is a stranger, more mysterious place than the grown-ups would have us believe.
However, The Kneebone Boy also suggests that the world is far more normal than we might hope. No matter how strange or unbelievable an event, story or person seems to be (a five-legged cat, an imprisoned child-monster, a stuffed miniature zebra), sooner or later there is a logical(ish) explanation.
The book tells the story of the three Hardscrabble children who, having been sent to stay with an aunt by their distracted, artist father, instead find themselves lost and alone in London. They flee the city, landing at the miniature castle their American great-aunt is currently renting. Adventures ensue, much to their delight, because it is important, as Lucia points out, to have at least one big adventure before you turn fourteen and start to become dull and grown-up. Fourteen, as JM Barrie didn’t quite say, is the beginning of the end.
Also, check out the gorgeous cover. Look at that cat. Look at the number of toes on that cat. At the expression on the cat’s face. Tell me you don’t love that cat:
AAAAAAAND I have a lightly-used ARC to give away to one lucky commenter.
- Be a follower. (Or pretend to be. I’m not going to check. Honor system!) Then leave me a comment so I know you’re interested!
- For a second entry, tweet or blog the contest.
- Contest entries close at 12 midnight on Friday, 25 February
I’ll draw names in a highly scientific process on the weekend and post the results.
EDITED TO ADD: A long while ago (actually, almost exactly a year ago, eek! where does the time go?), I tried to run a little contest and then I lost track of it completely, so I’m going to pull that name at the same time as this one and so I’ll have two prizes to send off.