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OLIVIA KIDNEY by Ellen Potter


by Ellen Potter & illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: June 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-399-23850-6
Publisher: Philomel

Olivia’s father has just become the superintendent of a New York City apartment building filled with particularly strange people. One woman has a glass floor that provides a perfect view of the apartment below. There is also an inept fortune-teller, a ghostly boy, and a particular nasty pair living in a recreated rainforest. Has Olivia really stumbled on an alternate world or is it all the invention of a desperately lonely child? Potter does not establish that sense of peculiar logic that is necessary to a successful fantasy. Here the events and characters are dependent on coincidence and manipulation. It succeeds somewhat better as Olivia’s story, but any true understanding of her pain is lost in the too-facile dénouement. Reynolds’s computer-generated comic-book–style drawings are intrusive and add nothing to the plot or mood. Disappointing. (Fiction. 10-12)