Friday, October 19, 2012

UP AND DOWN THE SCRATCHY MOUNTAINS


Review of UP AND DOWN THE SCRATCHY MOUNTAINS by LAUREL SNYDER
(review based on an advance reading copy)

While I read plenty of young adult literature, I don't often venture into middle reader ground. I tend to find anything below YA a little young for my tastes. However, skilled writers prove again and again that with the best stories, target age becomes irrelevant.

I found the tone of UP AND DOWN THE SCRATCHY MOUNTAINS playful and humorous. The story moves quickly. Of course, it has to with the shorter format! Young Lucy rides a fine line between adventurous and egocentric, though I gave her extra wiggle room when she forgets to consider others before taking action since she's much younger than most protagonists I encounter. When her friend Wynston, a local prince, abandons their usual play-date in favor of studying potential brides, Lucy runs off up the mountain in hopes of an adventure, an escape, and maybe even finding her mother - since her father never elaborates on what exactly "she's gone" means.

I enjoyed every page, but the more serious, stirring ending steps away from the fun, lighthearted romp of the rest of the book for the better. Readers will likely figure out this final revelation long before Lucy, but her reaction still cuts to the heart. The child in me, though, isn't content with the explanation of what happened to Rosebud!

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