by Gregory Maguire, David Litchfield
After her father dies, Cress and her family move to a basement apartment in an oak tree. Her mother struggles to pay the rent, and Cress is annoyed by the snooping neighbors. The landlord is a grumpy owl, and a large family of squirrels make a great deal of noise. But they all join together when danger is near.
This story is interesting and there is some action. Cress gets lost and has some adventures. She meets some crazy characters in the woods. As we get to know the neighbors more, Cress realizes that they all have more depth than she first imagined. She begins to feel more affection for her crazy neighbors and she even makes some friends.
However, the general mood of the book is not happy or adventurous or fun. Cress is sad and grieving for her father most of the time. This book is full of despair. At one point, Cress just gives up and shuts down. Cress does find some healing in the end, and she finds a little hope, but the overall mood of the book left me feeling depressed.
It got on my nerves that Cress fights with her mother so much. The plot is a little disjointed, and the world-building is not really explained. Some of the animals wear clothes, and some don’t. Cress’s mother has a business weaving cloth, but it’s never really explained where she sells her products or how that economy works, or even whether or not the animals have money or just exchange goods.
Overall, I just found it weird and depressing. I was looking for something more lighthearted.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.