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The Journal of Curious Letters by James…

The Journal of Curious Letters (2008)

by James Dashner

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4239225,018 (3.71)75
Recently added bywolfy0118, MidnightFae, IsaiahR.G1, PhxDan, Knowlton5th, private library, UICS
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» See also 75 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
Second time reading:
Just as good as I remembered. I love everything about Tick, from his name to his scarf to his nerdy side. I also love his dad. Edgar is probably my second favorite character in the whole book.

The plot itself really is good, with interesting puzzles that urge the reader to try and solve them as the story goes on. Even though I'd read it before, I couldn't remember a lot of details, so it was really fun trying to figure out the puzzles with Tick.

Yes, the villains are a little cliché. But that's okay. James Dashner can totally pull it off. ( )
  BrynDahlquis | Jun 25, 2014 |
Tick Higginbottom is tasked with figuring out the riddles of twelve mysterious letters before a deadline that involves many innocent lives. He has two choices: One, burn the letters and have the terrible and horrifying wraiths and stinging gnat rats disappear without a trace, or follow through with the letters and get to the bottom of the strange happenings.

This book was a great read! It's hard to find series that you know won't have anything wrong with them, like bad language or suggestive themes. This book, however, had absolutely no swearing, or any of that. There is a mention or two of magic, but it's not at all like the magic parents wouldn't like their kids to read about. The book was gripping, well-written, funny, and intriguing. It didn't feel like those flimsy, spur of the moment writing style of books that seem to sell so well. Instead it felt as if the writer thought carefully about his book, and didn't want to put in anything that would ban it from a reader's house.

As for morals, Tick and his dad have a great relationship that you don't see much in books anymore. Not only that, but several times it's mentioned that his mom and dad both have a strong relationship with each other. Tick trusts his dad, and his dad mentions that Tick had never lied to him, which is why he trusts and believes him when he tells him things. [Spoilers] Tick tells his dad everything by the middle of the book, and his dad agrees to help him.

The only thing that irritated me was near the end. The author did a bit of head hopping at the climax, and although there was never a confusion about who's head we were in, it was quick and abrupt, like there were twenty tiny chapters all smashed into one, whereas most of the book, we readers stayed with Tick, and occasionally flitted to Master George or Frazier Gunn, and sometimes Mistress Jane.

In the end, the book was well written, clean, and gripping. Recommended for all.

Things to watch out for:
Language: words like "dang" and "darn" but nothing more than that.
Violence: talk of your brains turning to mush, and some characters describe a brain-mushing incident they apparently saw once, school bullies that tell Tick to lock himself in a locker then dump his head in the toilet, death threats, a character openly threatens the rest of the kids more than once if they annoy her, but it's not meant to be taken seriously, one character is told to have died, character gets his back ripped up, but it isn't mentioned later.
Other: Although there's a point in the book where a good lesson about lying is mentioned, there are a few "white lies" sprinkled throughout the book, references of "magic" although [spoilers] it is all explained by technology and quantum physics. ( )
  Jenneth | Feb 18, 2014 |
Mr. Dashner creates a likable character in Tick. With him, we discover new worlds and the power of choice and courage. I quite enjoyed the Realitants but found the other children to be a bit two dimensional - hopefully that will improve in future novels. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Oct 22, 2013 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this. It was well written, dramatic, and right on par with the other things that I was reading at the time. ( )
  matthewbloome | May 19, 2013 |
"Mark your calendar. One week from the day before the day after the yesterday that comes three weeks before six months from six weeks from now minus forty-nine days plus five tomorrows and a next week, it will happen. A day that could very well change the course of your life as you know it." (43)

Every once in a while (especially when things in my actual life are getting stressful) I like to take a break from what I would call "grown-up books" and read a nice children's or young adult fiction book. I can zoom through it, and it usually doesn't require much paying attention; there aren't usually many serious themes that have to be considered, which I sometimes appreciate. This book was a perfect distraction from my life, although I did have to do more paying attention than I normally like.

One day, Atticus Higginbottom, also known as Tick (unfortunate name, possibly more unfortunate nickname) receives a mysterious letter in the mail, which includes the cryptic clue quoted above. He is provided with the instruction that if he burns the first letter, then he will not continue to receive the others; however, if he decides to keep the first letter, the sender will know and will continue to send these cryptic clues. If Tick can put the clues together, it's possible that he can help to save the world as we know it. He's warned by the enigmatic sender that it will put him in quite a bit of danger, and so he should think greatly before he makes a decision.

Tick discovers that there are a few other kids in the world who have received these letters and corresponds with them on the nature of the clues and the nature of the ending of the world. As the next letters come to him, he encounters some potentially lethal creatures and people who seem quite otherworldly. He is also provided with some "guides," who are sent to explain some things to Tick by the man who sent the letters; they are instructed to not give him too much information.

Although this book was 500 pages, it was a super quick, engrossing read that was well-written and tied beautifully to what I can only assume (having never had the patience or brain capacity to study them myself) are fairly relevant existing theories of quantum physics. Also, I really enjoyed realizing - although it's written for young adults, so I suppose I shouldn't be too impressed with myself - that I had put together some of the clues on my own. It kind of reminded me of reading The Mysterious Benedict Society (another great series).

And it's the first in a series. I can't wait to try out the others.
  jordan.lusink | Feb 1, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 91 (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)
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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 (2)

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?
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:51 -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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