Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5
Genre: Graphic novel/fantasy
What did you like about the book? The author, in a preface, explains how, as a child, he and his family saw a mysterious bright object in the sky. This story was inspired by that memory. Remco and his friend Luc are biking in the dark forest when Remco, after seeing such an object, finds himself in the Cloud Hotel. Strange waif-like kids populate the Hotel, and, instead of being scared, Remco is oddly happy there. As the story goes on, he finds himself alternately at home and at this surreal place. Home, with the stress of his sad parents and ailing grandfather, begins to seem less appealing than the Cloud Hotel. Mystery surrounds his comings and goings, accentuated by the intimations of in-between-ness and death that the Hotel represents. Hanshaw’s detailed etching-like art, in somber colors, echoes the dreamlike mystery of the setting. His characters’ deeply rimmed square eyes give all the characters the feel of mourning. I think readers will interpret the Hotel in their own ways, and teens, especially, will appreciate the many details and surreal motifs that are open to speculation.
To whom would you recommend this book? Offer this graphic novel fans who like mysterious speculative fiction. For older elementary school and up.
Who should buy this book? Middle school, high school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? I’m on the fence as to whether I’d shelve this in Children’s or Teen graphic novels.
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: July 17, 2018