I was 40% in when I gave up on this book. There are hints that Elliot is destined to become the saviour in some sort of legend that involves a parallel universe accessed through zips in the fabric of space, but frankly it is taking too long for this story to evolve to somewhere interesting. The dialogue is tortuous, although I do know one or two boys that speak in long complicated sentences, and like Elliot they are misfits. The problem is that all the children in this book seems to fall into this speech pattern, even the bully, except Abbi, and someone comments that she seems ‘surprisingly bright’. The last 10% of the book that I read involved Elliot meeting someone to guide him through the network in this alternative world. At the stage I stopped Elliot starts to get bored with him. Well, I’m afraid I got bored with him ten pages ago.
There is too much telling in this book. The descriptions are detailed and repeated. We get it the first time, your readers can imagine from your first description. We don’t need to have further similes thrust upon us. As for the network, if I got it the first time I am sure today’s tech-savvy youngsters can cope without long explanations. There are also incongruencies, like the bracken Elliot pushes his way through that is prickly and thorny. Someone called Brando is mentioned occasionally, as if someone’s name has been changed in the editing process. The descriptions are imaginative at times though. Quite disgusting as well.
The bickering couple on St Catherine’s Hill are just uninteresting, although plainly one of them is involved in the story on the other side of the zip, and Elliot’s mother has been shielding him all this time so he can reach his destiny. It’s just too tedious to get to the interesting bits, I’m afraid. I’d be happy to read an edited version though.