I read almost every genre & I enjoy venturing into unfamiliar territory. As a library volunteer, I'm constantly bringing home novels. Being a substitute teacher, I read lots of YA & children's books.
Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this novel to unravel like it did. I was anticipating a novel based on a relationship with a granddaughter and her granny but immediately upon reading the first couple pages, I knew I was being thrown into something much more. Talks of superpowers, secret kingdoms and the Land-of-Almost-Awake, I knew that the line between realism and fantasy were going to be breeched. Granny created this fantasy world of Land-of-Almost-Awake but as the novel deepens this line between fantasy and reality begins to vanish. I was swept away in the many stories that granny had stored in her head as she helps Elsa deal with life in the world of Land-of-Almost-Awake as they visit there often. These stories were fascinating and captivating and I knew how Elsa felt as she lost herself in the countless worlds that granny created for her. Eight-year old Elsa relies upon this fantasy world to escape reality which can be overwhelming at times and she depends upon her granny, her only friend, to help her navigate through life. This fantasy world is complex, it’s a highly-structured world with kingdoms, rulers, monsters and creatures whose detailed stories branch off and I longed to know more. You could get lost in this imaginary world, if you let your mind slip away. Back in the real world, Elisa lives in an apartment complex; she was blessed to live under the same roof as granny and many other unique residents. These residents were all unique characters which add spark to the novel. Their flair and personality bouncing off the walls, affecting all they interact with. For just one minute, I wanted to be in granny’s flat with Elsa, lying on her bed staring at her ceiling, just taking it all in. I wanted to see exactly what she was seeing, for it had to be spectacular. I truly loved granny. Everyone should have someone like her in their lives. She added excitement, spontaneity, humor and was truly more than a granny to Elsa. She was Elsa’s everything. I was saddened when I read that Elsa’s granny died and left her side. I feared for Elsa and her future. For suddenly, her real and her fantasy world were abruptly stopped. I seriously was not ready for what emerged from the rest of this novel, for it was as if the book exploded and stories upon stories sprang forth. I feel as if my eyes and heart were awaken as she is sent forth on her final mission from granny. It was such a wonderful and heart-felt novel and totally unexpected. The stories of granny’s fantasy world started to blend into reality and the excitement inside me was hard to contain. The ending….. Oh, the ending… my tissues, the presentation…oh, granny. “It was always you, dear Elsa.” It was so wonderful, “Damn, how I luv you.”