I knew I was in trouble the minute I picked up Katherine Applegate’s new book Crenshaw. Having LOVED The One and Only Ivan, I expected nothing but a top notch piece of fiction and sure enough, I was not disappointed. The book opens with a vision of a surfboarding cat. A surfboarding cat!!! How awesome is that? Of course then you find out that the cat is the long-lost imaginary friend of a boy whose family has fallen on hard times, yet again and he is worried about what the future will bring. (I promise you will begin to wonder if the cat is real at one point.)
Applegate has got the “less is more” thing down to an art. What I love about her work is how she doesn’t use a lot of words and yet, she says so much. As we learn about why Crenshaw has returned after such a long absence, how he became and imaginary friend and why a high analytical kid would even have one in the first place, you will learn why it is important to enjoy the magic while you can.
If I have one complaint, and only one complaint…it’s the fact that I wanted to know more about the family’s situation. We get the basic facts, but I suspect there is more than meets the eye. Still, when you understand that the story is being told by a 10-year-old…you get the fact that the narrator himself only understands so much and that makes perfect sense. So as an adult reader, I filled in the holes myself. Don’t misunderstand me, you will NOT feel like anything is missing, but maybe deep down, I just wanted a longer story (and that’s not a bad thing at all!!)
Applegate has done it again and as a writer, I always learn something from her style. A good lead will hook a reader. Less really is more and a good story will keep you reading late into the night. Buy it!