Monday, January 4, 2010

Middle-Grade Mondays: Invisible Lines

Invisible Lines, by Mary Amato and illustrated by Antonio Caparo

Publisher: Egmont USA
Pages: 299
Reading Level: Ages 9 through 12
Enjoyment Level: Medium

Usually, I leave the mid-grade books to my wonderful compatriot, Aly, but I received a copy of Invisible Lines to review before she started helping me out. With all the other stuff going on right now, plus some other issues with the book, I'm just now getting the review done, so my apologies to the publisher who sent it to me!

Trevor Musgrove has just moved to a new school and new apartment as his family struggles to make it and stay together. He loves to draw, loves soccer, and loves his new class with a teacher that makes learning interesting and fun. Trevor has a difficult time with one of his classmates and learns that, while he doesn't always get what he wants, he can try to make the best of his situation.

The story is interesting, but the pace is pretty slow. I had a hard time getting into the plot enough to read this in a couple of days - which stretched into more than a month. It may be that I just couldn't empathize enough with the character, but it's also just that the action happens slowly. The emphasis of the story is more on the development of Trevor, and I felt like the plot ended up lacking something because of it. I also felt like there was a disconnect in the chemistry between Trevor and his mother. At the end where they resolve a few things between themselves, it still felt as though they weren't really on the same level.

At the same time, there are some bright spot in the form of interesting characters. Trevor is well-developed even though I feel like he's disconnected from the rest of the setting and plot. The teacher, Mr. Ferguson, is quite the character, with a wonderful array of knowledge about mushrooms. There is a good message in the story, with a thread of theme that tries its hardest to connect Trevor to his development and surroundings. And it's easy to see that the author did her homework in the area of fungi.

So, while this book wasn't for me, I would recommend for kids who might struggle with reading. The plot and theme are easy to follow, as is the development of Trevor as a character. Opportunities abound for kids to pick out various setting details and concepts that will help them with reading comprehension.

Thanks to the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read this!

Until next time, go read something good!

~ Vilate

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