Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review: Lucretia and the Kroons by Victor LaValle.



 Title: Lucretia and the Kroons.

 Author: Victor LaValle: website, blog, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

 Series: /.

 Publisher: Random House Publishing Group’ Spiegel & Grau.

 Publication date: July 23rd, 2012.

 Source: Netgalley/Random House Publishing Group’ Spiegel & Grau.

 Format: e-ARC.

 Date read: August 11th, 2012.

 Rating: 4/5 stars.

 Get the e-book/book from: Amazon, B&N, The Book Depository or Kobo.

Lucretia’s best friend and upstairs neighbor Sunny—a sweet pitbull of a kid, even as she struggles with a mysterious illness—has gone missing. The only way to get her back is for Lucretia to climb the rickety fire escape of their Queens tenement and crawl through the window of apartment 6D, portal to a vast shadowland of missing kids ruled by a nightmarish family of mutants whose designs on the children are unknown. Her search for Sunny takes Lucretia through a dark fantasyland where she finds lush forests growing from concrete, pigeon-winged rodents, and haunted playgrounds. Her quest ultimately forces her to confront the most frightening specter of all: losing, forever, the thing you love the most.
Lucretia and the Kroons is a dazzlingly imaginative adventure story and a moving exploration of the power of friendship and the terror of loss. This all-new novella serves as the perfect companion piece to The Devil in Silver, a thrillingly suspenseful work of literary horror that continues the story of Lucretia.

From Goodreads.

Thank you so much to Random House Publishing Group for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review.

The cover:

This cover makes you wonder what will Lucretia uncover behind the fold?
It is simple and clear. A very well done cover for this particular book. And it proves that the saying “Never judge a book by its cover.” is true.


The storyline:

This story is full of intense moments, sadness, realistic facts and scary moments.

I do not won’t to spoil this book at all because you need to read this book for yourself to know what I’m talking about you, but here’s a short summary so you know what this is about:

The story follows twelve year old Lucretia, also called Loochie, and her journey of discovering loss, death, fear and illness.

She’s lonely and lives with her mother. She has one friend, Sunny, only who has cancer and went to get her treatments. Loochie’s twelfth birthday passes by and she decides that she’s going to wait for her friend’s comeback to celebrate with her.

When Sunny comes back, Loochie discovers it might the last time they hang out together, so she prepares everything. But while she’s waiting for Sunny to come down (because they live in the same building), she discovers that something went wrong and that her best friend disappeared and it has something to do with The Kroons, the people who’ve been smoking a drug since anybody can remember and have been kidnapping kids when they weren’t stealing from people.

Loochie decides to risk her life in order to help her friend escape. After she goes after The Kroons, Loochie discovers unspeakable horrors, faces death and says goodbye to the only person who has ever mattered to her.

What I loved:

- The writing style was very basic, simple and clear.

- The story is told from the author’s point of view, which was fitting for the story because we get to see the big picture and know how all the characters in a particular scene are reacting.

- The real story here is very touching and real. I think the book tries to deal with the fact that even children have losses and fears that can affect them very badly (I know that from personal experience :)). This book dealt with this issue very well in a very simple, direct and sad way.

- The characters were all realistic. There’s a huge part of imagination added to the story which only made it more believable because children deal with such traumas in a very imaginary way. I could relate each and every character in this book, even The Kroons, to someone real I know in real life.

- The ending left me speechless and asking for more.

- And finally, it’s a novella, which I think was perfect for this story.

What I disliked:

- Cigarettes, smoking and drugs are mentioned several times in this book with minors under 13 using them and saying at one point that smoking the cigarette helped. It would’ve been nice (if not better) to say that drugs and smoking are bad and deadly for any person let alone a 12 year old girl. There’s no mention of the deadly effects these things do to everyone.


The characters:

Lucretia (a.k.a Loochie): The main character in this book. She’s twelve years old and lives with her mother. You can say she’s an outcast and nobody wants her in their circle so she has one friend only. Loochie has a very strong relationship with her best friend, Sunny, and we can see her loyalty, love, strength and determination when Sunny goes missing and she goes after her to bring her back. I really like her, because for a twelve year old girl she’s very smart and brave.

Zhao Hun Soong (a.k.a Sunny): She’s Loochie’s best friend and cancer patient. She loves Loochie so much that she wants to take her along for the journey. Toward the end, Sunny starts to express her distaste for her condition and the medication.

The Kroons: They are people who used to be normal but a long time ago, before they started using a drug called Crack which turned them into monsters and now they can’t live without it.

Other people worth mentioning are: Loochie’s mother, who works all day and raises Loochie by herself. Lois, Loochie’s older brother. He doesn’t live with them anymore and has no longer a strong relationship with Loochie since he moved out.


Favorite quotes:

Most twelve-year-olds don’t know much about death, and that’s the way it should be. But a handful get the knowledge too soon. You can see it in their eyes, a sliver of sorrow floating in the iris, visible even at the happiest of times. Those kids have encountered that enemy, too soon and will always bear its scars. --- Chapter 1.

Loochie had given her the wig. Sunny gave the boots in return.               

Sunny shouted, “I love you, Loochie!”               

Loochie couldn’t respond for fear of letting Pit know she was still there. But inside her head she could hear her own voice, loud as a siren: I love you, too, Sunny! I loved you! --- Chapter 12.

Sunny’s death was no delusion, though. Neither was Loochie’s grief, which lasted a year. The doctors and her mother, and later even her brother, dismissed Loochie’s story, but she never doubted that it was true. Louis had turned out to be right about one thing, however: Being young didn’t protect anyone. Horrors came for kids, too. She understood that now. But that didn’t have to be the end of the story. Because of Sunny, so much joy had come for her as well. --- Chapter 16.


This was a fantastic short read. It was sweet, sad and realistic.

I hope I can get my hands on the sequel novella, The Devil in Silver, which comes out August 21st of this year.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves realistic fiction, horror, short stories with great storyline and dealing with real issues.



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