Author: Kfir and Yonatan Luzzato
Title: Have Book, Will Travel
Publisher: Pine Ten (June 1st 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.
Buy your copy: Links not yet available
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“Max fears that his family will disapprove of his friendship with Darla, a common girl from the village outside his uncle’s fortress walls. That's why they meet secretly to read together from an old book, which she has found in a dusty room near the fortress laundry where she works.
They read about a lost lake and feel adventurous when they slip out of the fortress to go swimming there; but the trouble begins when they find that, in the meantime, the fortress has been sealed and they can’t get back in. It’s lucky that they have the book with them, to guide them through the many dangers that await them on their way back home…or perhaps it is the book that is the source of their troubles.
In the end, it is the power of the friendship that Darla and Max have forged, and their courage, that see them through a series of breathtaking adventures.” GoodReads’ blurb
Initially, I chose to review this book because it talked about, well, a book; and because it was a family tandem writing it and I really wanted to see the results.
The results happen to be remarkable, and the story was highly enjoyable.
Warning about the target group: while it comes as a Young Adult book, I think it’s more appropriate for Young Readers. Nothing will keep us adults from enjoying it, but I believe that kids will get the most from this story. Now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you why I liked Have Book: Will Travel so much.
First, I’d like to point out the voice. The novel is written in a style that reads both adequate to the characters’ age and personality while also sounding like a “narrator”. It has this feeling of storytelling that we loved so much when we were younger and didn’t worry quite so much about grey characters and huge conflicts, but about having wonderful adventures with friends while discovering the world.
That’s exactly the kind of book this is, by the way. The good characters are good, the bad guys are what we adults term as “normal” (aka: people with their own interests, usually too greedy to care about others and with a touch of mean but without world domination schemes). The conflict is born out of the kind of mischief and curiosity all kids can relate to, and it escalates pleasantly to deliver a very entertaining story—while letting us know what might happen if we get funny ideas about running away without letting our parents know.
The magic system is, as fitting the genre, not very defined or limited. It worked for me. Well, the book worked. There’s this event later on which I cannot spoil that made me frown because it seemed a bit far-fetched for the level of magic and/or weird things present on the rest of the novel, but I’m not sure 10-year-old me would have cared about what felt inconsistent. I think I would have been excited about how they solve the situation instead. Since the resolution was imaginative, and it brought along a bit of a joke about University Professors, I’m not complaining too loudly about it.
I think that, if you have a kid who’ a young reader or know someone who could be turned into one, you should seriously consider this novel as a gift because it has all the makings of those old tales that, years later, we adult readers treasure close to our heart.