Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lucretia and the Kroons by Victor LaValle

Title: Lucretia and the Kroons
Author: Victor LaValle
Publication Date: July 23, 2012
Length: 104 pages

Lucretia is looking forward to an afternoon of fun celebrating her birthday with her best friend Sunny, who is dying of cancer, though Lucretia seems to think she's getting better, when her brother tells her about the Kroons. He says that they were a family of crackheads who lived in apartment 6D, and that even when the cops boarded up the door, hoping to starve out the family, they still never left and never died, because they'd turned into monsters. Later, Lucretia sees one of these monsters, which has apparently taken Sunny, so she follows it up the fire escape and into 6D, where she finds a strange version of the real world inside the apartment.

This was one strange story. It's one of those stories where you don't really know what's real and what isn't, which I sometimes enjoy but sometimes just confuses me. I mostly liked it in this book.

I loved the setting. The creepy version of a nearby park inside apartment 6D was neat, and the playground, which is ruled by a flock of New York rats with pigeon wings, was delightfully weird.

One thing that bothered me was that I didn't really care that much about any of the characters. I liked Lucretia well enough (she has a bit at the beginning where she tells off some other girls that made me take a liking to her right away), but I felt like I never really got inside her head. Maybe it's just because the book is so short, or because it's written in the 3rd person, or both. And Sunny is just plain unpleasant, I think. I thought I'd like her, because she's this little kid who's really tough, but to me she just came across as mean, even to her friend.

So, it was a quick read, and a neat little adventure, and I liked the writing, but the characters made it fall a bit flat for me.

3 stars.

This book counts for the 2012 A-Z Book Challenge.

Full disclosure: Free e-book copy received from the publisher through NetGalley.