The Book Review Club - The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister
The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister
By Charlotte Agell
(151 pp with some b/w illustration)
I won the advance arc for this book on Sarah Laurence's website and eagerly awaited its arrival. My youngest daughter is a serious Junie B. Jones, Judy Moody, Flat Stanley, Geronimo Stilton, you-name-the-series-she'll-read-it kind of kid. I wondered if India would fit the bill.
She more than lived up to my expectations. One of my pet peeves with series books these days is the flatness to the characters. This is not to say they don't have their own quirks, but rather, that they all seem to come from the same amorphous, fictitious middle America neighborhood. It's a great marketing ploy, but gets a little boring after a while, at least for me.
Which is what drew me into this book immediately. India is a adopted from China. Her parents are divorced. Her dad is gay and in a relationship with another man. Her mom is a self-sufficient artist (that really sealed the deal). India lives in a real place, Wolfgang, Maine. It is not middle America. It is a little town with a forest where you can get lost! There is so much texture to this story and its characters. The adventures India has are regular kid adventures. She has a boy who is her friend but not her boyfriend, Colby. He has a crush on a girl India cannot stand. India and Colby sleep out in a field to watch for UFOs. India spends time with her elderly neighbor next door. And all around these adventures is the enticing flavors of real setting, modern day family, and real life.
Add to that the gentle illustrations with which Agell enlivens the pages, and it's a winning combination. I cannot wait to read more.
I review books that surprise me, jar me, make me think. They are books I've bought, borrowed from the library, or been given as a gift. I do accept ARCs, but will only review a book if it moves me. It's about the writing. If I'm moved, I pass it on in a review.