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Hotel Dare: 12/05/19

Hotel Dare

Hotel Dare by Terry Blas and Claudia Aguirre is a young adult graphic novel about a family coming together to rescue long lost loved ones. Olive and her adopted siblings Darwin and Charlotte are sent to Mexico to spend the summer with their grandmother. For Charlotte it's her first time and she's as the most recent adoptee isn't feeling especially like part of the family. Her surliness helps get the story rolling.

Abuelita's hotel appears to be a run down building from the mid 1800s that has been added on in a willy-nilly fashion. Architecturally I was most reminded of the ever-expanding treehouse of Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. The teens are given no explanation to the odd rooms nor the missing guests. They are just told to clean the rooms while Abuelita is out running errands.

There is just one rule: don't go into Abuelita's office. Of course a rule like that is an invitation to break it. Charlotte, the least inclined to follow the rules of a woman she refuses to acknowledge as family, breaks in. The other two follow and their curiosity leads to the opening of portals to alternate worlds.

Each of the teens finds a world while they are cleaning. Their adventures in those worlds begins the book's exploration of the road narrative spectrum.

The central question or theme of Hotel Dare is family — what makes a family? and what will a family do stay a family? As the narrative unfolds the three teens — as wells as abuelit come together as a family of travelers (33) with the goal to save another family member, and to keep worlds from colliding.

The destination is utopia (FF). Rather, they start out as three separate destinations but as things progress, the three blend into one even more impossible world.

As their ability to travel between worlds is tied to Aztec relics, I as tempted to say the route was through the cornfield. The artwork, and text, however, don't make any reference to corn or maize, nor is there a water and tree crossing that could count as a tkaronto.

The route they take, is therefore the next most extreme one, the maze (CC). The hotel itself is a maze of hastily added on rooms, with each room, presumably, leading to a different world. Then as the worlds begin to collapse, the ever changing landscape becomes the maze.

All together, the graphic novel is the tale of a family traveling to and through utopia via a maze.

While Hotel Dare stands alone, there are rooms left to explore in the hotel. Sure, the original reason for all those rooms is now moot, but I would read a second adventure should one be written.

Four stars

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