Saturday, August 14, 2010

Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror

While I was at ALA in DC, I was fortunate enough to attend a breakfast hosted by the kind folks at HarperCollins. I was doubly fortunate to have the whirwind that is author Jennifer Finney Boylan sit down next to me, slap her hands on her copy of  Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror and launch into an extraordinary book-talk. Falcon Quinn made it to the top of my pile, due in large part for her enthusiasm for the book.

Falcon is waiting for the bus as usual, accompanied by quiet Megan and not-so-quiet Max. As they board the bus, Falcon notices a new driver, but doesn’t think too much about it, as he is distracted by some creepiness in the graveyard across the street. Before they know it, the 3 are careening through the streets, skipping stops and are soon deposited through the Bermuda Triangle and into another world.

They find themselves in the quad of Castle Grisleigh, where they are met by Mrs. Redflint who tells them that they are actually monsters and that Castle Grisleigh is an academy for monsters…a place where they can learn how to suppress their true natures and live among humans. At the Castle, the monsters are divided up by types with the sasquatches staying with sasquatches, vampires with vampires et cetera. Mrs. Redflint isn’t exactly sure what kind of monster Falcon is yet and Falcon finds himself feeling just as out of place at the Academy as he had on the outside. He doesn’t know what kind of monster he is, and even if he did, he’s not sure he would want to suppress his monsterness anyway! Just look at Max…he is loving his life as a sasquatch, why should he pretend just to be a big, hairy boy?

Jennifer Finney Boylan has written a fun and funny story about the nature of fitting in and finding friends. While she has said that Falcon is not a metaphor, the message about categories and acceptance comes across loud and clear. I have found over time that most kids do not mind the apparent messages found in many books, and I doubt that they will have an issue this time, as they themselves are in the heart of trying to figure out who they are and how to treat other kids who don’t identify as they do.  It is a big book at 486 pages, but it starts nice and quickly, and over-the-top characters like Perla (La Chupakabra), and Weems (the ghoul) will keep readers laughing out loud and wondering what will happen next.


Jill of The O.W.L. said...

I just saw this one at Barnes and Noble and thought it looked good! Glad to hear you liked it.

Anonymous said...

I also saw this one at Barnes and Noble and am trying to get my hands on a copy. What's strange is that none of the libraries in my consortium have it!