May 31, 2014

Reviewing... [64] Who Framed Klaris Cliff

Today I have another joint-review, Mother (Mrs/Mutti/Mum Bookworm) & I discuss a MG novel, Who Framed Klaris Cliff? Hope you enjoy! *hands out popcorn while you view our exchange*
Who did frame Klaris Cliff? Read it to find out!

Reviewing... [64]

Source: OUP (bloggers event)
Author: Nikki Sheehan
Reviewed by: Mother & daughter (Amy wins for dragging Mutti in today!
Recommended For: We'd say  especially for kids or preteens getting into reading! But, there's something for all the family. 

Mutti Bookworm: So, today Amy & I are discussing Klaris Cliff : I read this actually after meeting Nikki Sheehan at an OUP event, and hearing her inspiration for the story: on reaching the climax of the story, I wondered how I hadn’t guessed the twist!
Amy: Well, I’m not actually surprised that I didn’t. It didn’t seem like something which would be used as a plot point- after all, it could easily have just been something that made Joe & his Dad who they are, so was for that reason. Overall, it’s an interesting idea regarding imaginary friends... One Mum may have jumped into quicker than I did but we both enjoyed it when we did read it :D
MB: The story’s theme is that Rogue Imaginary Persons are believed to be behind many crimes including murder, and has set up a system that any who “harbour” such dangers must have The Cosh (“an operation that fries your imagination”) The main character Joe & his dad live next door to the chaotic Cliff family: older sister Pooh, rough friend Rocky, overlooked seven-year-old, Flea, and the manic twins Egg & Wills, and “the usual number of parents”, stern doctor father, and secret smoker mother. I really love the interactions between the characters: Joe & his dad, both missing his mum who went away two years previously to “find herself”, and having to continue life without her return; the family dynamics in the Cliff family; and especially everyone’s thoughts and behaviour towards Flea, whose longtime Imaginary Friend Klaris becomes accused of a series of domestic crimes.

Amy: My brother & I didn’t cause any problems when we had imaginary pets as young children so why would the human equivalent cause any trouble either?

MB: As Joe fears Klaris may be “migrating” to his mind too, his concern for Flea’s imagination becomes a quest to protect them both from The Cosh – so he interviews the whole Cliff family for alternative explanations for the “crimes”.
The basic theme, that Klaris has been framed, is pretty clear – and solving the list of incidents is only really a scaffold to show the human quirks of very different types of people, and how their relationships show or grow affection and concern, despite their differences.
Amy: Of course, some "crimes" aren’t as shrouded in mystery as others. I found that it was revealed so quickly sometimes how a certain crime Klaris had been accused of had happened, that it was a bit surprising that the characters had had to search for the reasons. But if you consider them all ways just to show humanity in its normality, like you did MB, it seems a lot more purposeful. It just proves how Dr Cliff really hadn’t bothered asking around himself! Who do you prefer, the mother or the father?
MB: Definitely the poor downtrodden mum! The Dr doesn't seem connected to or caring for his family - until Joseph helps Flea investigate!!
Amy: One of the things that make this seem like an MG novel in addition was actually the inclusion of a family. MG novels often have a family, as when would a pre-teen be wandering about for days on end without coming in contact with adults? Joseph, how he takes Flea under his arm now he has reason to, is so sweet. He doesn’t take advantage of the trusting, well-natured Flea & he realizes he has to protect him. It reminded both of us of Hilary McKay’s Casson family...
MB: When I finished the novel, I immediately tweeted Nikki to ask for a sequel, as the characters were so vivid in my head, I wanted to continue their lives! Nikki hadn’t read the Casson family, but as Rose and Flea seem so well-matched, I’d love them to meet as teens!!
Amy: The creation of the whole Cliff family & Joseph with his Dad was just as delightful to read- so I think if you’re beyond the age where a simple adventure with a small dash of mystery is intriguing- you would just take this for a very character-driven book. As an outsider, we (and Joseph) feel like this strange family could be a bit overwhelming, so the way it’s broken up, with short chapters as well, makes it more readable & allows all the characters to be appreciated- even Egg & Willis
MB: Agreed! They were hilarious at the hospital, nice to see them vulnerable after they had been so creepy & hardened. What did you think of big sis Pooh, & potential romance possibility between her & Joe for any sequel? 
Amy: Well, Mum, firstly, still the twins... all we can say is strange twins!  There definitely wasn’t at all a substitute for them with the Cassons... Romance  is definitely more likely between Pooh & Joe than Rose and Flea. That's a little beside the point. I liked Pooh on her own as well, she was the most helpful in the investigation & while at first she sees Joe as the boy next door... What the heck, that's romantic! I think it's a possibility for the sequel. But wouldn't mind either way.
Overall, Sheehan's debut was awesome, splattered with unique ideas & the creativity was really potent, so many avenues explored... What can I say? Just, read it! Overall it's a great book- you may not relate to Flea or Joseph, but maybe Pooh or the Mum?

Amy Bookworm (@Amy_Bookworm)rated this book:

1 comment:

Roberta R. said...

A joint review with your mum...nice!

"One of the things that make this seem like an MG novel in addition was actually the inclusion of a family. MG novels often have a family, as when would a pre-teen be wandering about for days on end without coming in contact with adults?"
Good point...though teens aren't so virtually parentless in real life either...only, YA books choose to forget it!

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