After the intense month-long reading during Looking for Newbery, then 2 nights of parent - teacher conferences this past week, and finally planning our blog birthday celebration, I decided to relax and reward myself with a trip to the library Saturday morning. I went to the "new book" bookcase, and left with two books that were just published this month -- so I'm talking "seriously new" books!
The first book was Counter Clockwise -- a first novel for Jason Cockcroft (he has illustrated other picture books).
I started my normal preview of a book -- look at the outside cover - interesting. So I moved on and then read the inside flap. The inside flap read,
"What if your mother were hit by a bus?
And what if your father disappeared one day through a hole in the bathroom wall?
Is there a way to change the course of your life's history?
What if time moved Counter Clockwise?"
Intrigued? I certainly was. And a book about time travel is not something that would usually appeal to me. Not even a little. But, the inside flap hooked me, and I put it in my pile to be read, checked it out, and went home to read it.
Another confession to make -- I read too fast sometimes. Hint: that is not necessarily a good thing with this book. Each detail of Counter Clockwise has nuance; everything is important. I have already had to go back and reread several parts to make sense of details of new situations that occurred later in the story.
When I finally put this book down, I felt short of breath. The story was mesmerizing, the characters were fascinating (and multi-dimensional, depending in which time continuum they are viewed), and the action was fast-paced. I literally heard myself gasp at least twice.
The flap says this book is for Grades 5 and up -- I think that's a good call. Because the story is set in England, readers will need to bolster their background knowledge. For instance, one of the main characters is a Beefeater -- pretty important to know what that means in order to understand his attire, and his purpose in the story. However, that being said, Counter Clockwise will be the first 2009 book I actually purchase for my own classroom. It's just that good.