The first in a rousing, funny, genre-busting trilogy from bestseller Jaclyn Moriarty!
This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world).
Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot's dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth.
As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds -- through an accidental gap that hasn't appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called "color storms;" a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the "Butterfly Child," whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses...
Reviews and Awards
Boston Globe - Horn Book Honor
A Kirkus Best Book of the Year
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Horn Book Fanfare Book
A Los Angeles Public Library Best Teen Book of 2013
⋆ “Another one of a kind from the inimitable Moriarty, this time, a barely epistolary fantasy series opener unlike anything else out there. Fourteen-year-old Madeleine lives in Cambridge, England, with her zany mother in uncertain circumstances, having run away from their fabulously privileged international existence. Meanwhile, Elliot lives in Bonfire, The Farms, Cello, a parallel reality that might be the real fairyland (although that’s never explicitly stated, and this version seems utterly unlike most versions of fairyland). Through a crack between their worlds, they begin exchanging letters, although more of the novel is about one or the other of these two appealing characters than about their moments of intersection. Elliot wants to find his father, who disappeared mysteriously, while Madeleine wants to be found by hers and is also navigating friendship and her mother’s deteriorating health. Moriarty’s trademark wit and whimsy are on full display, with zingy dialogue that feels right if not entirely realistic and bizarre characters living unexpected lives that manage to be mundane and delightful at the same time. By the end, Madeleine’s story feels somewhat resolved, but Elliot’s has turned an unexpected corner that will bring their worlds much closer and bring readers more mystery and humor in the next volume. Quirky, charming, funny, sad: another winner from this always-surprising author.” - Kirkus Reviews, starred review
⋆ “Moriarty is the queen of epistolary stories, and her fans will find the teens’ letters a familiar entrée into this highly unusual fantasy…. Moriarty’s story comes across as matter-of-fact yet curious, topped off with a strong dose of humor (think Margaret Mahy). As always, her irresistible characters help readers navigate a tantalizingly complex plot that will leave them eagerly awaiting the next book.” - Horn Book, starred review
⋆ “Lovely fantasy… The story is told through the teens’ communications and an omniscient narrator. This mix allows readers to know Madeleine and Elliot and their problems intimately, but it also gives them an aerial view of events, helps them meet the richly drawn secondary characters, and allows them to see the ingenious way in which the protagonists’ lives ultimately combine.” - School Library Journal, starred review
⋆ “[A] genre-blending feat of stylistic energy… The plotting is as innovative and riveting as the world-making here, and the characters are drawn with the same rich dimensionality you find in Pratchett’s Discworld or one of Diana Wynne Jones’s fantasies. Moriarty’s wordsmithery likewise compares favorably with those two masters, delighting and surprising readers with quirky turns of phrase, evocative, synesthetic metaphors, and swift, effective shifts in register. Give this to readers who, like Madeleine, aren’t quite sure of their commitment to secondary worlds but like to spice their realities with a little fantasy nonetheless, as well as to those who love secondary worlds with a healthy helping of reality on the side.” - Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review
“Moriarty’s marvelously original fantasy is quirky, clever, and delightful…. Expect readers to flock to Moriarty’s name and stay for the whole Colors of Madeleine trilogy.” - Booklist
“[M]oments of sharp observation, startling invention, and delightfully comic dialogue confirm Moriarty as a genre-bending author who gracefully weaves metaphysical questions into outwardly ordinary circumstances.” - Publishers Weekly
“Moriarty’s fans will recognize her flair for epistolary storytelling and quirky characters. Humorous asides and large doses of whimsy create a breezy tone that makes moments of romance and violence unexpectedly powerful. Madeleine’s insistence that Cello is Elliot’s fabrication (“I have issues with your world-building”) provides a particularly funny, metafiction twist to the parallel-universe storyline…. [A] clever, layered story in which every seemingly innocuous detail plays a part, and the ending satisfies while opening brand-new doors for the sequel.” - Voice of Youth Advocates
Young Adult Fiction
Trim Size: 5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Page Count: 384
Foreign Rights: Jill Grinberg Literary Management
Translation Rights: Jill Grinberg Literary Management
Rights Available? yes