If You Find This: 01/07/18
If You Find This by Matthew Baker is a middle grade novel about musical prodigy trying to find his grandfather's lost treasure, if there is one. The problem is that his grandfather suffers from dementia and is only lucid for a few minutes at a time.
The basic story is a treasure hunt caper on a small scale. It's set among a dwindling family history and a crumbling house along an abandoned road. There are clues mixed up in the grandfather's ramblings and tattooed on his body.
But the presentation suffers from two things: a narration that talks down to reader and a narrator who uses quirky notation to show off how he's a prodigy.
Nicholas thinks of everything in terms of musical notation. OK. No problem, right? Yes problem. The book includes notations above the words for whenever there's a sound to show how loud or soft it was. It gets tiresome by the end of the first chapter. An entire book of this is intolerable.
You know how some authors get stuck on catch phrases for character traits, like the character who says everything wryly or the one who is always saying things sotto voce? Right. It's like that except above every sentence. Even music real sheet music isn't as notated as this book is.