I'm not sure where I picked up this book. I thought I got it from a sale at the book store but there's no tag. I love the cover (it's adorable!) so that's probably why I have it. I also really like the name Mathilda...
Mathilda is a young teenager (I don't think there's a hard answer about exact age from the book) whose sister was killed approximately one year before this story opens. She is struggling with the loss, especially because her parents appear to be "disappearing" in front of her eyes. They are certainly having a hard time with the loss and don't know how to handle Mathilda, especially because Mathilda's genius idea to help "wake up" her parents is to misbehave.
The hook of the book, supposedly, is that Mathilda is trying to find out the truth of what happened to her sister. And I wanted to know, too... That bit seems to resolve and then there's little to hang the rest of this story on, except that Mathilda is still a little shit. You're trying to feel sorry for her, you really are, but it's just not working out.
Mathilda's story is told in a stream of consciousness sort of style for much of the book, an interesting choice that works well in some parts but not consistently throughout. There are times when you feel sorry for her and other times, when she's being unnecessarily mean, that you just want her to sit down and shut up. Mathilda is the kind of character that would work better as a main character's best friend, someone you can love to hate, who sticks up for the person you actually do relate to. Someone you hope the protagonist can get away from. As a main character I lost patience with her.
I agree with many reviewers who felt that Mathilda's voice fluctuated between that of a teenager and that of a bitter older person (the author perhaps). Bitter might not be the right word. The problem is, I think, that there were moments of social commentary that seem out of the blue, included for the sake of making Mathilda seem aware when she is generally clueless. At times there were pieces that just didn't fit, just didn't make sense, or were just distracting. What the hell was that basement scene?! And why are we talking about the world trade center attacks? For depth? I don't even know.
Overall, I liked the writing. I also liked the idea of the story and of the character. I just didn't really like how it all came together. I'm giving it 3 out of 5 stars.
I donated this book to the Harry Potter Alliance's Apparating Library at Book Riot Live last weekend. This is basically a book exchange program. If you haven't seen the other amazing things that the Harry Potter Alliance are up to, you should definitely check it out!