Author: Michael Foster
Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy Adventure
Rating: 1 Star (DNF)
In the wilds of Idaho, an adventurous young girl stumbles into an alternate dimension that’s plagued by a tyrannical creature and faces a life-threatening curse as she struggles to find her way home. Eleven-year-old Alicia encounters unusual, surprising friends and terrifying enemies as she embarks on an unexpected and magical journey in nature.
The story takes the reader to a land not so far from home, yet farther than imagined, perhaps another realm, that looks much like what we see around us on earth today, but nothing is what it seems. Alicia sets out on a difficult journey to discover a way home, finding compassion and friendship along the way. She meets a squirrel named Mickey, a jay named Briar, and Fiona, the enigmatic deer, who help her fight terrible foes and comes face to face with Bristleback, the fearsome mountain troll. Though Alicia and her friends help each other overcome crippling fear, can they find a way to stop “The Drying” which threatens them all?
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I wish I could say I enjoyed The Passage at Moose Beach by Michael Foster – The cover was cute, what I read of the synopsis sounded fun… but I’ll be honest, I was underwhelmed. The problem for me wasn’t the story or the plot itself, but rather the way the book was written.
Frankly, I found the prologue of the book to be useless in the context of the story – there wasn’t any information or particular scene there that was necessary to the whole of the book – it was more of a short synopsis of the setting than anything else. I thought, surely, the story will start in chapter one then… but after six pages of description of the setting – down to the weather patterns from month to month… I gave up. I did not finish this book. I was bored, and honestly, I can’t see a middle-grade reader sitting through that many pages of setting description without anything actually happening. I certainly can’t imagine the entire book being written this way without becoming a slog.
In the end, I set the book aside. The writing didn’t draw me in. A good editor might be able to shave this down into a more concise and engaging story, but I don’t think it’s there yet.