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Book Review – Lucretia and The Kroons by Victor LaValle

Synopsis:  Lucretias best friend and upstairs neighbor Sunnya sweet pitbull of a kid, even as she struggles with a mysterious illnesshas gone missing. The only way to get her back is for Lucretia to climb the rickety fire escape of their Queens tenement and crawl through the window of apartment 6D, portal to a vast shadowland of missing kids ruled by a nightmarish family of mutants whose designs on the children are unknown. Her search for Sunny takes Lucretia through a dark fantasyland where she finds lush forests growing from concrete, pigeon-winged rodents, and haunted playgrounds. Her quest ultimately forces her to confront the most frightening specter of all: losing, forever, the thing you love the most.

Lucretia and the Kroons is a dazzlingly imaginative adventure story and a moving exploration of the power of friendship and the terror of loss. This all-new novella serves as the perfect companion piece to The Devil in Silver, a thrillingly suspenseful work of literary horror that continues the story of Lucretia.

First Line:  Most twelve-year-olds don’t know much about death, and that’s the way it should be.

Random Quote:  Sunny sat in a chair in the kitchen, her hands resting on the windowsill, and her skin seemed translucent.  Veins were visible, tracing their way across the backs of her hands, all the way to her knuckles. The veins weren’t even blue, but a deep, dark gray, the color of wet cement.  Sunny’s face had become so fat and pale that her small nose, her tiny mouth, seemed to be floating in a bowl of custard.  Her eyelids were  red and puffy.

The one touch of liveliness was a blue knit cap that she wore pulled down to her eyebrows.  It was the blue of a bright sky.  And attached to the top, by two short strings, were a pair of pompoms.  They sat on her head like mouse’s ears.  They were the kind of gift someone might give to make a sick child feel whimsical, to graft youth back onto a decaying body.

Review:  Lucretia and the Kroons is a novella with all the punch of a full-length novel.  It’s not often that authors write about children dealing with their friends’ deaths, but Victor LaValle is not afraid.

Lucretia’s best friend, Sunny, suffers from an illness (probably cancer) that has slowly taken her away from her friend.  Treatment and medication have rendered her almost unrecognizable, but still Lucretia remains faithful.  Then comes the day when Sunny disappears and Lucretia finds herself on a mad and frightening and marvelous adventure into the unknown with only a mysterious and monstrous woman as her guide.

I very much enjoyed this book.  It was sweet and genuine and scared the pants off of me.  Mr. LaValle has a great way with words and storytelling and opens a big picture window for his readers and characters to step through.  Wonderful read and appropriate for middle grade kids and all of us older kids who aren’t easily frightened or just love to be scared!

FTC Disclosure:  Copy from publisher for review via NetGalley

Publishing Information:  Spiegel and Grau – July 23, 2012

Format:  Kindle


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