By Dave Eggers
Published on: April 30, 2018
The cover is mostly what drew me to this book. It wasn’t the colors or the layout, but instead it was what was within the picture. If you look carefully you’ll see tunnels seemingly going everywhere with weird things holding them up. (Like… is that a grandfather clock? And a hockey stick?)
The Lifters focuses on the town of Carousel where Gran and his family has just moved to. If there is one thing to know about Carousel it is that the inhabitants have an oddity about them that was very reminiscent of the Wayside School series by Louis Sachar – where the abnormal is seen as normal, but with a more serious tone. Such as teachers and students not even realizing Gran is a student in the school. Or, when sinkholes start appearing at school everyone is just expected to walk around the sinkhole area. Sure…a massive sinkhole forms and there’s no concern about the rest of the school falling in. Or how about the fact that some of the town believes the sinkhole was caused by evil moose. One of the ways that helps to bring out this oddness are the chapters. There are 113 of them and some are very, very short. The first chapter itself is just one sentence. Perfect for young readers who might to feel a sense of accomplishment when reading.
The two main characters in the story are Gran and Catalina Catalan. Out of all the kids in the school Catalina is the only one who one day realizes he is in the class. From there he becomes intrigued by her and starts following her around and finds that she can open doors that don’t really exist. Catalina is trying to keep the sinkholes from occurring and Gran decides he wants to help. While Catalina sounds intriguing she is actually a difficult character to like. She is mean to Gran, arrogant, and condescending. I was very glad when Gran realized this about her and decides to stay away from her. But circumstances pull them together again and I’m glad they did because we get to see a better side of her.
As odd as this book is at times, there is a great deal of heart in it that I wasn’t expecting. It occurs toward the end when we finally get to the part where we learn who and what the Lifters truly are and what their role is and to be honest I became a little emotional over it. I credit the narrator and author for giving such a good performance.
Rating: 4 stars
Discover an underground world full of tunnels and mystery in this middle-grade adventure from the bestselling, Pulitzer-nominated author of Heroes of the Frontier and Her Right Foot.
What if nothing was as it seemed? What if the ground beneath your feet was not made of solid earth and stone but had been hollowed into hundreds of tunnels and passageways? What if there were mysterious forces in these tunnels, mere inches below you as you sit in class or eat a banana?
What if it were up to just two kids to stop these forces? What would it feel like to know the fate of an entire town rested on your shoulders?
Twelve-year-old Gran Flowerpetal is about to find out.
When Gran’s friend, the difficult-to-impress Catalina Catalan, presses a silver handle into a hillside and opens a doorway underground, he knows that she is extraordinary and brave, and that he will have no choice but to follow her, and help her save the town (and the known world). With luck on their side, and some discarded hockey sticks for good measure, they might just emerge as heroes.
In The Lifters, critically acclaimed author Dave Eggers establishes himself as a storyteller who can entertain and inspire readers of any age.