THE BOY WITH 17 SENSES by Sheila Grau

THE BOY WITH 17 SENSES

Age Range: 9 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Twelve-year-old Jaq is willing to do anything to save his family’s home; he’ll even travel to another world.

Everyone on the planet Yipsmix has synesthesia. They can see sounds, taste words, and feel colors. In fact, Jaq, pale-skinned with a shock of brown hair, has 17 different senses. Unfortunately, all of the senses in the world will not help his family’s failing farm. Desperate, Jaq agrees to part with his beloved pet freasel in exchange for a magical key. Initially it seems he has been scammed, but further study yields a map to a portal to another world. Jaq travels to Earth with wipper Bonip, a sort of wacky fluff ball, where he finds both the means to save his family and others who need his help. This retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” tries hard but fails on many fronts. Forced whimsy, a too-complicated plot, and a tendency toward narrative preachiness are only a few of this story’s problems. Jaq’s mother is borderline abusive, throwing plates at his head, while Jaq’s bitter and lazy grandfather is more horrible than amusing. The addition of synesthesia feels like another forced element, and those 17 senses add little to the already struggling story.

A fractured fairy tale that splinters on impact. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4197-2119-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Amulet/Abrams
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2016




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