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Blowing Clear by Joseph C. Lincoln
Captain Superlative by J.S. Puller
Charlie & Frog by Karen Kane
The Divided Earth by Faith Erin Hicks
File M for Murder by Miranda James
Flotsametrics and the Floating World by Curtis Ebbesmeyer
Giant Days Volume 8 by John Allison
Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
If Someone Says 'You Complete Me,' RUN! by Whoopi Goldberg
Inkling by Kenneth Oppel
Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity by Kristin Elizabeth Clark
Just Like Jackie by Lindsey Stoddard
The Law of Finders Keepers by Sheila Turnage
Little Red Rodent Hood by Ursula Vernon
The Lotterys More or Less by Emma Donoghue
Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan
The Mystery of the Missing Mask by M.A. Wilson
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl
The Rhino in Right Field by Stacy DeKeyser
Runaways, Volume 2: Best Friends Forever by Rainbow Rowell
Secret Coders: Potions & Parameters by Gene Luen Yang and Matthew Holmes
Seldom Disappointed by Tony Hillerman
Show Me a Story! by Leonard S. Marcus
Small Favor by Jim Butcher
Soof by Sarah Weeks
The Speaker by Traci Chee
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier
Very Rich by Polly Horvath
Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™ by Rebecca Roanhorse

Miscellaneous
Cybils Update (December 04)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (December 03)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (December 10)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (December 17)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (December 24)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (December 31)
November 2018 Sources
November 2018 Summary

Best of the Year
Favorites of the second half of 2018

Thirteen favourite Canadian reads of 2018

Twelve favorite diverse books read in 2018

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Twelve favorite Road Narrative Spectrum books read in 2018

Twelve favorite road narrative spectrum essays written in 2018

Road Essays
FF9900 Orphan Wildlands Blue Highway

FF66FF: orphan home cornfield: or who lives alone in a cornfield?

FF66CC: Orphans at home in the maze

FF6699: orphans at home in the labyrinth

Road Narrative Update for November 2018

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2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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Very Rich: 12/11/18

Very Rich

Very Rich by Polly Horvath is set in Ohio in the present, but in that odd uhoric timelessness of the Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall. Rupert Brown is one of many siblings, growing up extremely poor in Steelville.

At the other extreme is the River family, the owners of the big factor in Steelville. They all live together in a mansion and don't worry about things like budgets or clothing or food or any of things that Rupert can only dream of having.

On Christmas, Rupert, cold and tired and starving stumbles to school is surprised to see it closed and tries to head home. On the way, he ends up trapped in the security gate of the River mansion. When he ends up on the grounds, he's invited to Christmas dinner.

The extremes of the Christmas meal as well as the farcical behaviour of the different River family members goes to the extremes of Roald Dahl in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Things end badly for Rupert, thus setting off the remaining two thirds of the book. Each of the member River family wants to apologize for how Rupert was treated during Christmas. Each of these adventures involves some level of fantasy, again in a Roald Dahl fashion.

Despite being a rather episodic and nonsensical book, it fits snuggly in what's typically the horror section of the road narrative spectrum. With a marginalized boy (for his poverty and the way he's ignored by his parents) traveling through time (and for the rather timeless nature of the setting) along a blue highway (to small towns and cities in an otherwise ordinary Ohio), it's a 66CC33. While what Rupert's home life is horrific it's played for comedy just as Charlie Bucket's situation is.

While I enjoyed bits and pieces of the book and found it an interesting execution given the narrative building blocks, I didn't find the overall story satisfying. There was no satisfying conclusion. The book ends with Rupert having had some bizarre adventures but otherwise in the same spot he was at the start of book.

It's not that I expected a happy ending but her other books typically end at a higher place than where they start. Even when the narrative has an open-ended conclusion, the protagonists usually end up in a better place. But this time she's not so subtly commenting on the growing divide between the very poor and the very rich.

Three stars

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