Thursday, August 11, 2011

Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth: A Middle Grade Novel By Andy Hueller

Description from Goodreads.com 
Calvin Comet Cobble lives at Hidden Shores Orphanage. Location: the very center of the earth. Cal's life is full of the school bully and mean teachers, but when he meets Mr. E, who can skip a stone clear across Lake Arctic, everything about Cal's life changes. Told with wit and charm, Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth is guaranteed to excite and inspire readers of all ages

I honestly have to say I have not read a book like this ever. It was very unique and had a combination of different stories that are tied together. The most interesting thing about it is the situation of the main character, Cal. Cal lives in an Orphanage in the middle of the Earth. This orphanage is very poor. I was very saddened by their situation in which they eat almost inedible food, no clothing, no toys, no proper schooling. When the description of the food and clothes are mentioned I wanted to gag. Also the school is borderline with a Penitentiary that holds very dangerous criminals that were sent to the Center of the Earth for their behavior, only the worst of the worst are there. To be so close to an Orphanage was very shocking and dangerous in my opinion.  
My favorite part was the fact that the Penitentiary and the Orphanage were on opposite sides of the land and divided by a Shadow Line. To be exact as soon as you stick your arm or foot through the shadow it disappears completely from sight. The criminals are housed on the shadowed part of the land and that makes it a darker, more edgier story because of that. 
There is also the side story of Bart and the huge golden screws that ties in to how the Orphanage and the Penitentiary came to be. This was probably the most unique part of the story and a little weird and interesting as well. And worth the read for its originality. 
I think middle grade boys will love this story, there is adventure and some danger and making friends even in the most dire situations. 
Orphanage = disgusting unkempt poorly managed place
Prison = Scary, dark and foreboding
Giant gold screws= unique, imaginative and completely new concept
Friends =can be found in the most unexpected of places and people


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