Friday, February 6, 2009

Book Review: Tell Me Who by Jessica Wollman

Sixth grader Molly Paige and her best friend Tanna find an antique machine in Molly’s basement that has the power to tell them who they’ll marry. News spreads and all the kids at school now want to know “who” too. Meanwhile, Molly tries to find a way to keep her widower father from marrying the horrifying woman known as “The Claw” even though the “Who-meter” says their marriage is a done deal. Is the future decided or can it be influenced?

This concept had me super excited thinking of all the possibilities. How would your dating life change if knew the name of the person you were destined to marry? Would it help you avoid heartbreak or would you miss out on some great relationships while waiting for “the one” to show up? Would the absence of mystery suck all the roller coaster fun out of dating?

Once I started reading though, I pretty quickly realized that this novel was not set up to explore such questions.

Instead of jumping right into the action of the main plot, the book begins with a bunch of long winded set-up scenes that feature random elementary school kids doing disgusting things such as chewing with their mouths open. The “who meter”, the reason I’m reading this, does not show up until page 50. Not cool.

But then it does get kind of fun. Tanna finds out she’s going to marry some rich British guy and uses UK slang the rest of the book. Molly plots “The Claw’s” downfall and is grossed out when she finds out she’s destined to marry a younger neighbor. One classmate finds out she’ll marry 7 times. Another not at all. Only Molly’s basketball tutor Julie refuses to use the machine, saying:

“I guess it feels kind of like reading the last page of a mystery before you’ve even started.” (page 133)

Wise words Julie. I only wish you and your pals hadn’t been confined to a 3 month time period in a middle grade novel. That this wasn’t YA or even adult fiction is a real missed opportunity in my eyes.

TELL ME WHO is out in hardcover now. Find out more about the book at the author's website.

13 comments:

bermudaonion said...

At the beginning of your review, I thought that book had loads of potential. It kind of reminded me of the movie "Big." Too bad it didn't pan out.

Alea said...

I can see how it would work better with older characters for sure.

Lenore said...

The concept also reminded me of Big. But not the execution.

Elizabeth said...

Great review, and man, now I wish someone had written the book you thought it would be.

Beth Kephart said...

I always smile when I read your reviews. You're richly honest and that's really amazing.

Ladytink_534 said...

I think I agree with you. It sounds like it would have been a bit more interesting if the characters had been older.

Heidi said...

This sounded like an amazing, fascinating book, for all the reasons you gave.

I, too, was disappointed to find out it wasn't. I agree with Elizabeth. I wish someone had written the book you thought it would be.

jessi said...

The concept does sound interesting - maybe you could write your own version? :)

Lenore said...

Ha! Maybe I should :)

sweetghost6 said...

This one sounds like a keeper. Although I am a bit afraid age wise of the characters...

Joanne said...

I think the idea has lots of potential, had the characters been older.

CAready said...

Wow! (openmouthed). This sounds like one of those good old-fashioned books made in the 50's 0r 60's! The concept grabbed me.. I love anything to do with mystery and machinery.

Anonymous said...

i just got done reading it .It was ssssoooo good