Friday, December 4, 2015

The Boy Who Knew Everything by Victoria Forester, 2015

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Here is the long-awaited companion to The Girl Who Could Fly.
There is a prophecy.
It speaks of a girl who can fly and a boy who knows everything. The prophecy says that they have the power to bring about great change...
The boy is Conrad Harrington III. The girl is Piper McCloud. They need their talents now, more than ever, if they are to save the world—and themselves.

(416 pages)

I really, really, really loved The Boy Who Knew Everything's prequel, The Girl Who Could Fly (my review here). I spent years desperately waiting for a sequel, and when I discovered a few months ago that it was finally happening, I literally started jumping around squealing. I was so excited.

Coming out of The Boy Who Knew Everything, I'm a lot less elated.

I mean, what I loved so much about The Girl Who Could Fly was that it had so many amazing messages mixed in with the really cool sci-fi scenario and the touching inter-personal interactions. It was a story about friendship and bravery and loyalty and staying true to yourself, and it was amazing. The Boy Who Knew Everything, on the other hand, is trying so hard to be some sort of breathtaking, mind-bending story that it forgets its own roots. It's sci-fi storylines stray almost into fantasy, and there's this weird prophecy thing that really doesn't mesh well with the tone of the first book. And then there's the whole plot with Conrad's father, which some will probably like but which I thought was a) weird and b) a dreadful reopening of a wound that I thought beautifully closed at the end of the first book. Piper also didn't seem to have as much spirit in her as she did in the first book. I mean, there was definitely a semblance of trying to represent her as having that spirit, sure, but she just felt pretty forced. And I'm forced to admit that The Girl Who Could Fly should probably have remained a standalone forever, despite how desperate I was all those years for it to have a sequel.

Actually, I think The Boy Who Knew Everything would have done better as a standalone almost as much as its prequel would. Placed next to The Girl Who Could Fly, it simply has lost too much for me to consider it any good; all of my favorite storylines seem to have been polluted and twisted, and new ones introduced that throw off the entire balance of the stories. I can't say that I know for sure that I would adore The Boy Who Knew Everything if it were a standalone - I'm too prejudiced by its prequel to be able to judge - but I do know that a lot of the things I hated about it (the storyline with Conrad's father, for example) I would have actually enjoyed in other circumstances, with different characters. It's just when they are changing the tone and ending of one of my all-time favorite books that I get mad.

Let's be honest, I'm pretty much going to pretend that The Boy Who Knew Everything didn't happen. I mean, I might think of it from time to time as a book completely on its own, but when I think about The Girl Who Could Fly I will not draw any connection between the two books. My Piper and Conrad and Violet and Kimberly and Jasper and all the rest did not travel down the path laid out in The Boy Who Knew Everything; they are still safely where my nine-year-old self left them, their futures completely disconnected to anything that happened to the kids in Forester's second book.

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