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The Journal of Curious Letters (2008)

by James Dashner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The 13th Reality (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6909726,031 (3.7)75
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.
  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)
Rating aside, I'm glad books like this exist. Books like this is what start the love of reading in young adults.

However, this book shouldn't be read by anyone over 18 (or likely 15 or 16). While the plot was a little complex, the dialog was overly simplistic. I like James Dashner books so I know he can write. Clearly though, this book was written for much younger audiences. ( )
  cgfaulknerog | May 28, 2020 |
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. ( )
  MrNattania72 | Mar 17, 2020 |
This book is about a boy named Atticus (Tick) Higginbottom. He is sent mysterious letters from M.G. with clues for a special date. He decides to do it and he encounters many different challenges, including Tingle Wraiths a man named Frazier Gunn. Frazier Gunn tries to kill Tick and his dad while they are in Alaska trying to see where the letter came from (he learns who the letters are coming from) he gets saved by a girl who he has been emailing who gets the letters too named Sophia. On the day of the special date he gets winked to the Realitant Headquarters, and meets the other kids who received the letters and become Realitants second class. He goes to the Thirteenth Reality to get Mistress Jane’s Chi’karda wand, and when they are trying to escape the Fangen, Tick winks them all to the headquarters. They find out that the wand doesn’t have a Chi’karda drive and that Tick has some sort of power over Chi’karda.

I gave this book five stars because it was very descriptive. It is very exciting and fun to read. I can relate to the main character because he is my age and that is really cool. It makes you feel like you are actually in the movie. It shows lots of different points of views and I like that too. The book is cool and it is fun to learn more about Chi’karda which is very interesting. He is a very kind character who loves his family and I really like that. ( )
  MorganJ.G1 | Mar 25, 2019 |
I’d give this novel 3.75 Chi’karda drives out of 5. (Read the book and you’ll know what a Chi’karda drive is)
This is a really cute story. It probably reads and feels more middle-grade than any middle-grade novel I’ve ever read (take that to mean what you’d like.) There’s nothing really dark or extreme, so it should really be safe for all ages.
I always get a little apprehensive when a book tries to balance the notions of Science and Magic in the same universe. I’ve never seen it really work, but Dasnher did enough to avoid having it stand out (negatively) in this book. I appreciated that.
The main character of this book, Atticus Higgenbottom, understandably goes by “tick.” He’s so smart, that his family calls him “Professor,” but not so smart or flawless that he becomes unlikable. As a matter of fact, he gets picked on and bullied at school.
One day Tick receives a mysterious letter in the mail. He opens and finds a strange set of instructions that he must decide whether or not to commit to them. If he destroys the letter, then all will be as before; no adventure, no danger, nothing new. But, if he keeps the instructions and follows them, he can expect danger to seek him out, and challenges to thwart him at every turn.
Tick decides to follow the instructions in the letter and to help the people that the letter mentions. He wants to be part of something bigger than himself, and he’s willing to potentially sacrifice himself in the process.
Along the way he meets several other kids that have also received letters. They meet up through message forums and email on the internet. My favorite character is Sofia, the Italian girl that Tick meets first. I love the way the narrator (audiobook version) portrays her and all her fraternal digs at the other guys in the story. She has a good sense of humor, and rounded out all the boy characters.
As the story progresses, the kids communicate with each other about the clues they receive, and help where they can. All this leads up to a final moment where tick and the other kids have to follow a certain set of instructions on a certain day, and in a certain place.
As you can tell by the title of the book, the story deals with multiple realities. It’s a wild ride, and I would recommend it to virtually anyone, but especially young readers. It’s very wholesome, as it were, and a good time.
P.S. It’s probably worth noting that a lot of stories for this age group kill off parents, or come up with some other strange approach to getting them out of the way so that the children can be empowered to be the true protagonists of the story. Rather than doing that, Dashner actually had Tick confide in his father, and get power and trust from the adult to move forward the way he wanted to. That was a nice touch. ( )
  wisealma | Nov 21, 2018 |
The author of the Maze Runner does Scientific Harry Potter...there is even a giant "friend" ala Hagrid except that she is a woman called Mothball. But I digress...
A boy called Atticus (preferred name Tick) who is bullied at school because he is super clever and has a birthmark on his neck, gets a strange letter postmarked Alaska, asking him to work out forthcoming puzzles in order to save the world. Mmmm. Sounds a tiny bit familiar?
Tick agrees not to burn the letter and so begins to receive letters with clues, sometimes posted and sometimes hand delivered by the aforementioned Mothball, or by a tiny fat man called Rutgers. Along the way he befriends 2 other kids of similar age - Sofia the Italian Spaghetti heiress who is so stuck up as to be completely unlikeable as a character and Paul, a boy from Florida - by posting his quest on a Pen Pal website.
There are also weird monsters that appear from nowhere and an assassination attempt on Tick and his father Edgar's life when they go to the source of the first letter, a remote town in Alaska.
It all comes down to Tick and his new friends solving all the letters, meeting a mysterious man called Master George, who tells them about Quantum Physics and the existence of alternate realities. (The one Tick exists in is the Prime reality...and the 13th Reality is the really bad one.)
It is an engaging enough story but I wonder if the students reading it will lap it up because it is so similar to HP or whether they'll go "Yeah, yeah...heard it all before." The only part that I really liked was the inclusion of the father Edgar in Tick's quest...usually the parents are against all that but Edgar is very supportive of all that Tick is trying to achieve; which is a nice change.
There are 4 books in the series and this is the first. Reviewed for the VPRC. ( )
  nicsreads | May 27, 2018 |
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)

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.

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Average: (3.7)
1 6
2 10
2.5 4
3 36
3.5 17
4 64
4.5 13
5 28


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