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The Journal of Curious Letters by James…

The Journal of Curious Letters (2008)

by James Dashner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The 13th Reality (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5529918,107 (3.71)75
  1. 10
    The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (foggidawn)
  2. 00
    InterWorld by Neil Gaiman (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Another interesting science fiction work dealing with multiple realities and geared toward a younger audience.
  3. 00
    A Door in the Woods by James Dashner (elbakerone)

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» See also 75 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
This book is the first in a new fantasy series that explores the possibilities of alternate realities and how things might develop differently depending on a series of circumstances. It also includes lots of puzzles and riddles, but in a way that makes sense through the storytelling. They flow naturally as part of the plot.[return][return]I especially appreciated the focus on family, though it did seem that Tick's parents were a little too accepting of all that was happening at times. Still, it was a nice change of pace to read a fantasy novel with a protagonist whose parents are both still alive, together, and involved in his life. Having involved family in a story creates a completely different dynamic than having an absent family (through either disinterest or death), and it tends to complicate matters, often in a delightful--at least for readers--way. ( )
  shadrachanki | Jun 8, 2018 |
For most of his school year, bullies have been the biggest concern for13-year-old Atticus Higginbottom better known as Tick. But when a letter arrives for him from Alaska asking for his help ‘in a most dreadful time of need’, to take part in an extremely dangerous mission in which ‘many, many lives are at stake’, his life becomes a great deal more exciting and dangerous and those bullies become the least of his worries.

The Journal of Curious Letters is the first volume in author James Dashner’s middle-grade series, The 13th Reality. There is much to like here even for an adult reader but there is also some problems including those often found in first books in a series. Much of the book (and it is fairly long) is spent introducing us to the characters and setting up the plot - while necessary, it does tend to slow down the story. As well, this is, I believe, an early Dashner series and it clearly displays a great many influences including Star Wars that many adults might find a bit obvious but I suspect that these will appeal to its intended audience. And, in fairness, Dashner is a good enough writer that these influences seem more homage than appropriation.

But, on the pro side, it is well-plotted, smart, with plenty of action and adventure to keep the reader’s attention. As well, there’s a nice touch of humour and interesting characters to either root for or against. I also liked the fact that Tick realized he couldn’t do this alone without consulting a parent, something that occurs too often in YA and middle grade adventure and fantasy novels. Instead, he asks his dad for advice and help. I loved how supportive his dad was while being portrayed as a normal guy, dadbod and all. Overall, I enjoyed The Journal of Curious Letters quite a bit and would recommend it highly, especially to middle graders.

Thanks to Netgalley and Sweet Cherry Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review ( )
  lostinalibrary | Sep 26, 2017 |
Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley and Sweet Cherry Publishing for this opportunity.

Journal of Curious Letters will be available in the UK on February 8th, 2018!

This book is currently available in the US.

The potential for Journal of Curious Letters was great.

It did not follow through.

I LOVE adventure stories. I love finding clues and running about and ALL THAT hullaballoo. National Treasure? Scooby-Doo? I AM DOWN. That’s why I figured that Journal of Curious Letters would be a good fit for me. Unfortunately, it disappointed. There were a lot of things that I felt went wrong with this book, to the point where it was unenjoyable.

For starters - there were Stereotypes Galore.

I think that the best way to explain the stereotypes is to look at a handful of the characters and you can see for yourself.

First of all, we have Atticus. He’s a Caucasian American 14 y/o nerd who covers up a birthmark with a scarf because he’s embarassed. He and the librarians are friends and he regularly gets shoved into lockers. He loves science class and hangs out afterward to chill with his teacher. Who is of unspecified Asian descent.

Next we have Sofia. She’s rich, snobby, spoiled, and Italian. She has lucious long black hair and a butler who does whatever she wants. She thinks all Americans are stupid and her family owns a spaghetti and spaghetti sauce brand.

Finally, Paul. Paul is an African-American from Florida who is six feet tall at 14 y/o and has a defiant attitude. He comes in the story late and doesn’t get much representation.

Oh, almost forgot. Sato is in the end of the story. He’s Japanese, smart, untrusting, and his parents don’t really notice him. We really don’t see much of him, so there isn’t a lot to talk about.

The leader of this band, Master George, is an eccentric Englishman with a cat, Persion rugs, preposterous accent, self-importance, and a love of peppermint tea. You can practically picture him as tall, lanky, with a handlebar mustache and a top hat.

Atticus’ father is overweight, something that is repeatedly described. He’s so overweight that he gets stuck Winnie-the-Pooh style during a high action scene. This is used to humor up a scene when the characters look like they are about to die.

The author goes to GREAT trouble to show us that the tall characters are tall and weird-looking, and that the fat characters are short, fat, and weird-looking. Everybody is actually pretty mean to each other all the time about their appearances and intelligence, but they’re all such good friends that Atticus feels like crying every time he has to leave them.

Other weirdness in characters? Atticus’ 4 y/o sister is a pyromaniac, his father doesn’t like watching movies without him, and the bully looks like a Billy Goat apparently which later on in the story turns HIM into the victim. And the villain is bald and obsessed with the color yellow. At best these characters are really weird, and at worst? Well, they’re horrible.

As far as the story and writing goes, I'm not a fan.

Dashner really, REALLY likes to explain things. Everything. Too much information. So much of it is uninteresting and irrelevant to the story. Things like descriptions of Atticus’ mother’s cleaning habits and exactly how long TO THE HOUR Norbert had been working at the post office. All these descriptions felt like filler and since this book is on the longer end, I like to think a good editor would have weeded it down and gotten to the point.

There are twelve clues sent – in various, mostly pointless ways – to Atticus and the others. Mostly the clues say I CAN’T TELL YOU ANYTHING! The fact that there is twelve of them is SUPPOSED to be important, but really feels like they were there just to draw out the book. All the clues would have done better to be combined into a single, simple poem. About 75% of the book focusing on figuring out these poems and introducing Sofia, Paul, and throwing Atticus’ father Edgar in the mix. The more interesting part of the book is squished into the end and rushed.

And the dialogue? Mostly spent saying how they can’t say anything and being insulting and roundabout.

I really feel like this whole book could have been accomplished in about 125 pages and have been better for it.

This is a one star book for me.

Read this review and more like it on my blog, The Literary Phoenix. ( )
  Morteana | Sep 3, 2017 |
In this book the main character is Tick, in the beggining, Tick gets beat up by school bullys, and goes home, and recives a letter. This letter is from a mysterious person named M.G. M.G. wants Tick to save the date on the letter and embark and a deadly quest that coulc pottentioally save lives, being brave and heroic, Tick accepts this letter and goes to sleep. The next day tick goes to the library to do research on this special M.G.. He finds nothing on him, and heads back home when a unatrual tall figure sneaks up on Tick and intriduces himself as Mothball. Moth ball tells Tick to be careful of creatures that want to hurt him. Later that evening Tick hears a loud machine like buzzing noise, he walks over to his closet, and finds a square metal box. A few seconds later the machine explodes and hundreds of bees are relesed at Tick. Tick gets bitten so much that he gets knocked unconcous. And the book ends there

This book is a very interesting book because there are ascpect of suspense, heroism, and mystery. First, in this book there is alot of suspense. For example, When the machine is on the ground making a wierd noise, it is is spuspenful to wee what will come out of the box. Secondly, there are heroic moments. For example, when Tick has to choose whether to accpet the quest and save lives , or to skip the oppertunity and a a avarage boy gis whole life. Lastly, there are moments of mystery. For example, when Tick is trying to find out who M.G. really is, or when Mothball shows up. In conclusion, this i why this book is a really good book for you to read
  DiegoK.B1 | Mar 23, 2017 |
This was a very entertaining book that I think that my 6th grade boys might like. Girls, I am reluctant to get them on this, but a few have inquired about it. ( )
  MrNattania | Sep 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
This book had great potential. The beginning of the adventure starts with a bang, but by the middle of the story things begin to drag.
added by Katya0133 | editSchool Library Journal, Saleena L. Davidson (Aug 1, 2008)
Though there are chunks of text that are overwritten, the telling is generally laced with a strong sense of humor and a sure hand at plot; the author is plainly in tune with today's fan base.
added by Katya0133 | editKirkus (Mar 13, 2008)

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Dashnerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Beus, BryanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Norbert Johnson had never met such strange people in all of his life, much less two on the same day—within the same hour even.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Tick is a regular 13 year old boy who start receiving mysterious letters from a mysterious source signed "M. G." the letters are riddles telling him to do a certain thing at a certain time, at a certain place. If he does, something extraordinary will happen. Will Tick and his friends have the courage to stop Mistress Jane in her evil plan to make the perfect universe?
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159038881X, Audio CD)

What if every time you made a choice that had a significant consequence, a new, alternate reality was created--the life that would've been had you made the other choice? What if those new realities were in danger? What if it fell to you to save all the realities? Atticus Higginbottom, a.k.a. Tick, is an average thirteen-year-old boy until the day a strange letter arrives in his mailbox. Postmarked from Alaska and cryptically signed with the initials "M.G.," the letter informs Tick that dangerous--perhaps even deadly--events have been set in motion that could result in the destruction of reality itself. M.G. promises to send Tick twelve riddles that will reveal on a certain day, at a certain time, at a certain place, something extraordinary will happen. Will Tick have the courage to follow the twelve clues M.G. sends to him? Will he be able to solve the riddles in time? Will Tick discover the life he was meant to live? The first volume of an outstanding new children's fantasy series, The Journal of Curious Letters is filled with adventure, humor, riddles, and, oh, yes--danger... As M.G. warns Tick, Very frightening things are coming your way. Will you join Tick and his friends on an amazing journey through the Realities? What will your choice be?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:09 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Thirteen-year-old Atticus "Tick" Higginbottom begins receiving mysterious letters from around the world signed only "M.G.," and the clues contained therein lead him on a journey to the perilous 13th Reality and a confrontation with evil Mistress Jane.… (more)

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