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HALF WORLD by Hiromi Goto


by Hiromi Goto and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: April 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-670-01220-6
Publisher: Viking

Fat, poor and intellectually slow, Melanie Tamaki’s days are divided between torment at school and her alcoholic mother at home. The day a crow gives her a fortune cookie—one that says only “go home”—all that changes. Melanie follows her now-vanished mother into Half World, a magical limbo populated by gruesome semi-humans and characterized by despair. Chased by the oozing monstrosity Mr. Glueskin, aided only by a jade rat and a crumbling Magic 8-Ball full of cryptic advice, Melanie seeks escape from Half World with her mother. Unfortunately for Melanie, Mr. Glueskin thinks Melanie is the chosen one, the destined child who’ll bring Half World back into balance with the realms of Spirit and Flesh, and he’ll do anything to stop her. As Melanie is neither particularly bright nor brave, her persistence and her empathy will have to be enough. The richly flavored, often gruesome despair of the worldbuilding is enriched beautifully by Tamaki’s evocative illustrations, in which the contrasts between light and darkness mirror the tale’s thematic concerns. Hopeful and beautifully strange. (Fantasy. 11-13)