A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty starts out feeling slightly like a fairy tale. We meet Madeleine, a girl who has gone from living an extraordinary, luxurious, sparkling life to a very ordinary life in a one room flat in Cambridge with her mom. Her two friends with whom she homeschools aren't sure what to believe of the things she says, and Madeleine never seems to act like her life in Cambridge is permanent. One day, she comes across a note stuck in a parking meter and begins a correspondance with someone who she believes is spinning a fantasy tale about parallel worlds and magic.
But...it turns out that Elliot ISN'T just some lonely kid playing make believe. He's a teenage boy living in the kingdom of Cello -- a place that's a bit different from "The World." Elliot is a golden boy in his town of Bonfire, and he's consumed with finding his missing father.
A Corner of White is a story about reality: about two teenagers realizing that maybe what they thought was true isn't, and what they thought was fantasy is really quite true. And amidst the very personal journeys of Madeleine and Elliot, there's a larger mystery slowly reveals itself.
I found this book pretty delightful. The intertwining stories aren't complex, but the characters, and relationships are layered. Moriarty adds little details that make such a big difference: the fact that Madeleine's mom spends all her time studying for a quiz show but she gets all the answers wrong. The way Madeleine and her friends, when given an assignment to study certain Cambridge graduates, immerse themselves in their three alumni: Isaac Newton, Lord Byron, and Ada Lovelace. The way Elliot is thoughtful, helpful, well-loved by his community, and a "good kid," but also kind of a self-centered jerk.
Bottom line: just a really nice read, a good mix of fantasy and reality. I'm really looking forward to reading the next in the series.