Under Shifting Glass by Nicky Singer
Genre: Supernatural, Music, Middle Grade, Slice of Life
Pages: Hardcover, 320 pages
Published: 19 February 2013, Chronicle Books
Original Title: The Flask [ 2 February 2012 ; HarperCollins ]
Source: Copy borrowed from a friend
Jess has a secret: a mysterious glass flask she finds in an heirloom desk’s hidden compartment. Its surface swirls with iridescent colours, like something’s inside, something almost like a song, something with a soul. No one else sees anything under the shifting glass, but Jess is convinced there must be some kind of magic in there. And when her twin brothers are born critically ill, Jess begins to believe that the force within the flask just might hold the key to saving her brothers-and
How do you describe anyone you’ve known a long time, in fact? And that certainly includes yourself. I might put something down today which won’t be true tomorrow. I hope I don’t do that. But I might. There is always the possibility for change.
Why did I want to write for young people? Well, there’s the after-the-event rationale (which is nevertheless quite true) which is that the dividing line between truth and fiction for young people is much thinner than it is for adults so you can push all sorts of limits, which is very exciting for a writer. And then there’s what actually happened. It began like this…
My son (Oh yes – by this time I was grown up enough to have a child of my own) had to go into school one term and bring with him a book review. On the basis of his review, five other children went out and bought the book – (not borrowed the book off him, only one cheapskate did that, no, they bought the book). I said: ‘Roland, you’re doing better than my agent and my publisher put together, why don’t you become my agent?’ And he replied, ‘I will if you write something for my age group.’ So there was the challenge.
Okay, this book still strikes me as strange. It was strange in a beautiful way.
Okay, first, it took me about five pages to be fully convinced that this is a children’s book. I was not informed.
Next, the writing was something I was able to barely tolerate. Especially the first third part. The second third was pretty tolerable and it definitely improved by the last fifty – seventy pages to end.
The characters, well, Jess was pretty annoying. Not the okay kind of annoying but the bad kind of annoying. She was able to grew by the end of the story and well, that’s good. Zoe, too was just like Jess. The adults, well, her mom was here and there, and Si was more like just a figure, and Gran felt so detached. It was like, they were there but not really.
The plot itself, in my opinion, is pretty deep for a children’s book.
Souls. Life. Meditation. Open-mindedness. Connections. Fate.
Those kinda stuff.
It was pretty strange, looking at the ended story, but it was meaningful and hold a lot of message about life. And friendship. And when you look at that, it is relevant and important for little children to read this. Just make sure they have a dictionary with them.