The Vanishing Act
Summary (from Goodreads): On a small snow-covered island—so tiny that it can't be found on any map—lives twelve-year-old Minou, her philosopher Papa (a descendent of Descartes), Boxman the magician, and a clever dog called No-Name. A year earlier Minou's mother left the house wearing her best shoes and carrying a large black umbrella. She never returned.
One morning Minou finds a dead boy washed up on the beach. Her father decides to lay him in the room that once belonged to her mother. Can her mother's disappearance be explained by the boy? Will Boxman be able to help find her? Minou, unwilling to accept her mother's death, attempts to find the truth through Descartes' philosophy. Over the course of her investigation Minou will discover the truth about loss and love, a truth that The Vanishing Act conveys in a voice that is uniquely enchanting.
Review: I picked this book off the Staff Picks shelf of the library, and chose to take it home because it had a lovely review by Erin Morganstern, author of The Night Circus, on the back. I thought it was odd that the back of the book didn't have any kind of a summary of the plot, but after reading the book, I understand why.
There was no plot.
Parts of the book were written beautifully, and I can see why some people would love it. But I found it disconcerting that the characters had no names, that the story skipped around in time, and that the adults on the island were incapable of raising a child. And more importantly, NOTHING HAPPENED. I kept thinking Minou was going to come to some philosophical discovery, but I got to the end of the book, and she didn't. Unless I was too clueless to pick up on it....
Rating: 2 stars