Friday, May 4, 2012

Julia Gillian and the Art of Knowing

Julia Gillian and the Art of Knowing (Julia Gillian #1)
Alison McGhee, illustrated by Drazen Kozjan
Scholastic, 2008
$15.99, Hardcover
March 31st, 2012

Genre: Realistic
Age: 9+
Description: Nine-year-old Julia Gillian prides herself on her gift with the “art of knowing.” She knows a lot about her quirky young adult neighbors Enzo and Zap, her Minneapolis neighborhood, and the claw machine in the back of the local hardware store where she’s been trying to win a stuffed meerkat for three years now. Unfortunately, the one thing she doesn’t know is how the book she is attempting to read is going to end. Not being a big reader in general, she was attracted to the green book with a dog on the cover because she likes dogs. She actually is the owner of Bigfoot, a St. Bernard. However, 30 pages into the book she gets a bad feeling that the book will have a sad ending and refuses to read any further. However, her friends and family try to teach her that being afraid is something normal and she eventually finds the strength to handle the ending.
Opinion: I wanted so much to like this book but it was so horrible, boring, annoying, and long! The first annoying thing about it was the fact that since Julia Gillian has a first name for a first name and a first name for her last name everyone, including her parents, call her Julia Gillian. Firstly, I don’t know if it is supposed to be pronounced with a “g” or a “j” sound so every time I read her name I stumbled over it. Secondly, it was a cute gimmick at first but after 300 pages of Julia Gillian, Julia Gillian, Julia Gillian, Julia Gillian it got annoying as hell! The next thing that bugged me about the book was that Julia Gillian is not a very likable character. I don’t know if she’s supposed to have some sort of developmental/psychological disorder or what (maybe extreme anxiety) but she is not likable and comes off as a character that is selfish, whiny, and must get her way all the time. For instance, when she finally wins a prize out of the claw machine and it’s a cute bat instead of the meerket she literally freaks out and screams at everyone and gets really angry with Bigfoot because he seems to like the bat as a toy. She is a total brat. I was just ploughing through the 300 pages waiting for the book to get over.

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