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Between Two Ends by David Ward
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Between Two Ends

by David Ward

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7710243,736 (3.8)2
Trying to help his father deal with his longstanding depression, Yeats and his parents visit his grandmother's old and eerie house, where he discovers a pair of pirate bookends that unlock a thirty-year-old secret that Yeats must try to resolve by entering the exotic world of The Arabian Nights.

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
David Ward has created a fantasy rich with atmosphere and full of heart-stopping drama.

Every child who loves stories wishes at least once in their lifetime the ability to be a part of the story. In the book "Between Two Ends" we find this is exactly what has happened. Yeats Trafford has returned to his grandmother's house with his mother and father. His parent's marriage is falling apart because of his father' depression. Yeats learns that his father and a young girl had entered the story of The Arabian Nights when they were children. Her father wished himself out of the story but Shari stayed. This has been the source of his father's depression. Twenty years have passed. Yeats finds a missing pirate bookend in the garden and reunites it with its mate in the library. From here his adventures begin. He wishes to be taken to Shari so he can convince her to wish herself home. Once in the story things don't go as smoothly as he hopes and he finds danger everywhere. This was a very quick read for me. I read it in under 2 hours and sat on the edge of my seat the entire time. I wondered if he would be successful, how he would get out, how he would convince someone who didn't remember the past he told her about. Would he be killed? The ending was quite satisfying and the action non-stop. I received this book from net-galley. I will however need to purchase a copy for my school shelves because this was a wonderful book. ( )
  skstiles612 | Jul 11, 2011 |
A middle grade fantasy, Between Two Ends takes readers on a trip into 1001 Nights as the young protagonist, Yeats, attempts to save Shari who has been lost in the story for twenty years.

The concept of going into books is one I (and probably most readers) very much appreciate. The thought of actually entering our favorite stories, of interacting with the characters, smelling the air, touching the objects, tasting the food, tantalizes. I am not sure if it was my first experience with this conceit, but the most memorable for me is Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair, the first book in the Thursday Next series. While in Fforde's series, the ability to enter books, multiple books, is central to world building, in Between Two Ends, it is merely a conceit to tell an adventure tale.

Yeats accompanies his father and mother on a "revitalization" trip, one of his father's sporadic attempts to break free from a depression (and a confusion) which has been plaguing him for most of his life. This trip is the big one, a return to the house where it all started, a last ditch effort to save himself and his marriage. Yeats understands the importance of the trip and wishes for nothing more than to keep his family together. When he gets the opportunity to help by bringing back the girl lost to his father twenty years ago, he winds up in Arabia searching for Shaharazad (Shari).

From that point on, the book is pure adventure with swashbuckling pirates, scimitar wielding palace guards, talking panthers, and daring escapes. All of this action seems fitting and effective for a middle grade novel, and I believe that the intended audience will enjoy the fast-pace and the unique adventures. And I must say, I quite enjoyed it too. ( )
  EclecticEccentric | May 30, 2011 |
I don't often review middle-grade books. I have nothing against them, I just tend to enjoy the more complex characters and plots that I find in older YA books. When I read the summary for this book, however, I knew that this was going to be one of the exceptions.
This book was comforting. That's the best way to describe it. Reading this book was like watching a movie from childhood. The main character is a child who is trying to hold his family together. In spite of being faced with a depressed father and parents on the brink of divorce, the main character moves through the story with innocence and determination. In true middle-grade fashion, he doesn't get upset or morose about it. He goes forth and tries to fix the situation in a way only a child can-- he goes on a magical quest to fix everything.
My favorite part of this book was definitely the pacing. The set up takes about fifty pages (which go by very quickly), and the plot progresses at good pace from there. My mother is a fourth grade teacher, and one of the things she requires of a book she reads to her students is that it moves quickly and that each ten pages or so has a "hook." This book fulfilled that in my mind, but I wasn't meticulously counting pages. Instead, I looked down at the page number and realized I had read a hundred pages without thinking that the books was dragging at all.

Rating: 4 stars-- I don't think I'll be making middle-grade books a regular occurrence, but this book was a nice change of pace for me, and I will definitely be recommending it to my mother.

Other Tangential Thoughts: I received this book for review from Netgalley (Thank you!). ( )
  SavvyEscapades | May 24, 2011 |
Yeats Trafford, age 12, visits his grandmother, who lives in a creepy house which has more than the usual creeks and moans. The garden seems able to sense Yeats presence, especially near the old wishing well. From that weird experience, Yeats uncovers an old pirate bookend that was “kicked out” of the library 20 years earlier. Yeats cleans the old guy and takes him to gran’s library, reuniting him with his matching bookend. From there, a strange yet believable world opens up to Yeats. He has heard the story of his father’s own journey with the pirate bookends and is determined to make the same trip. Yeat’s wants to finish his father’s journey hoping it will keep his parents together. Yeats must bring home the girl left behind 20 years ago when she and Yeat’s father went on their own journey. Where does Yeats and the pirate bookends (named Skin and Bones), journey? Into the pages of The Arabian Nights.

Yeats must find a way to bring Shari, Shaharazad in the story, home without actually rescuing her. Shari/Shaharazad must want to return on her own before the spell she is under will break – a spell only Shaharazad remembering another reality can break. Yeats cannot force her to return. Yeat’s father could not get Shari, now living as Shaharazad, to return. She has been inside the story for 20 years. Yeats has an impossible task before him. Funny guys Skin and Bones refuse to help. Maybe it’s of a pirate’s code (of dishonor)? Skin and Bones transport Yeats, leaving him on his own, inside the shore of The Arabian Nights

I really liked this story. It was difficult to put the book down. There is adventure, romance, harrowing action and lots of humor, especially from Skin and Bones. Shari has been in the story as Shaharazad, the king’s storyteller and the one person who can get the king to sleep. Shaharazad might be telling the king boring stories, but in Between Two Ends, not one boring word can be found. The author, David Ward, does a masterful job creating the world of The Arabian Nights, capturing the lost souls, the resident’s desperation, and the danger Yeats encounters, brilliantly.

The “original” Arabian Nights, known in the US as A Thousand-and- One Arabian Nights, has more than 1000 pages in some older versions. A currently available version has 912 pages. David Ward’s Between Two Ends could easily be part of an Arabian Nights tale for the twenty-first century. Plus, with less than 300 pages, it is a faster read.

Note: received from netgalley, courtesy of the publisher. ( )
  smmorris | May 21, 2011 |
Every reader has dreamed of entering the world portrayed in the books they read. This tale tells the story of one girl, Shari, that got her wish. Not only did she join the world of Arabian Nightsthat she loved reading about, but she played the role of one of her favorite characters, Shaharazad. The only problem with entering the book realm is that over time you lose yourself in the book, as every reader does, and forget where you came from to begin with. The only way to break the wish and return to reality is to truly want, with all your heart, to return home. Unfortunately for those that loved Shari, she was lost and didn’t remember that another reality existed outside the story she was in. Now, years later, the man that lost his childhood friend has returned to the point where everything started, the library of his mother. Back at the beginning, the man tries to put the story together in his head as the memories are clouded and nothing seems to make sense. However, his son, Yeats, puts the story together first. He finds a pirate bookend in the garden, and once reunited with his partner in the library, Yeats catches the pirates doing magic. His reward? A wish pertaining to the book world. It’s then that Yeats figures out what happened to his father’s friend, and chooses to enter the world of the Arabian Nights and bring Shari back to the ones that love her.

I received this book as an ARC on netgalley and was thrilled. However, my moving and changing jobs really put a damper on my reading, and I’m just now finishing, after release date (May 1st, 2011). However, once I started reading I couldn’t put the book down. The book is short and easy to read, so it made for a nice easy read with an enticing plot.

From the very beginning the author sets up question after question, unraveling the mysteries of Gran’s house and the secrets about the library. The reader simply rides along side Yeats on the journey to answers as he discovers the magic within the bookends and makes his wish to prove that his father is not crazy. The author uses the pretense that Yeats mother, Faith, will leave his father, William, because she feels that he’s going insane with all his nonsense stories of burly men stealing away his childhood friend. She doesn’t understand the story, and William doesn’t seem to have the important answers. If Yeats can somehow bring Shari back, he could prove that his father is not crazy and his family won’t fall apart. Personally, I felt that this motivation behind Yeats was a bit cheap. Yeats constantly whined about how his family would fall apart if Shari didn’t come back with him, and I would have liked to see a bit more substance behind his reasons for wanting Shari back. I’m not very creative, so I don’t know what that substance would be, but it just felt a little off how it was.

There were a couple other things that I would have liked to see flushed out a bit more in the story. For one, I’d like to know the significance of the wishing well. I feel that it played an important role in the story, but I don’t understand exactly how it ties into the magic of the bookends. The author never explains what the significance is of this particular wishing well. At first I thought it was because the house had magical properties, but the story explains that all the magic is in the book ends, not the house. Therefore, what’s so special about the well? I also don’t understand the significance of the cat, Odysseus, and his inability to die until Shari returned. Was it because he had taken the journey with her on her wish? I wish more had been explained about this as well.

Despite my questions, I felt the storyline was well explained and made sense. To me this was a simple light read with very little depth, which doesn’t make it bad. I enjoyed the story, beginning to end, but never truly immersed myself in the book. I feel that the author could have delved a bit deeper, answered a few more questions, made you feel for the characters a bit more. As it stands, I didn’t truly feel anything for the characters; no impending doom or happiness, or sadness. They were just there as mechanisms to make the story progress. I also felt that many of my questions went unanswered, as I’ve explained above. My verdict is that this book is a good book to cleanse your pallet with after a long or difficult read, or what you take with you on the train or plane where you don’t want to have to think too hard. However, I am glad the author left the storyline wide open for a sequel. Maybe he’ll write a second and some of my questions will be answered.

My rating? Good, but not amazing. ( )
  jexball | May 18, 2011 |
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