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A Corner of White

Book One: The Colours of Madeleine

A Corner of White
  • WINNER:  New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards
  • WINNER:  Queensland Literary Awards
  • A Boston Globe-Horn Book Honour Book
  • Finalist: Andre Norton Award (Nebula Awards)
  • Shortlisted: Western Australia Premier's Book Awards
  • A Kirkus Best Book of the Year
  • A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
  • A Horn Book Fanfare Book
  • A Los Angeles Public Library Best Book of the Year


Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, the World – a city of spires, Isaac Newton and Auntie's Tea Shop.

Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello – where seasons roam, the Butterfly Child sleeps in a glass jar, and bells warn of attacks from dangerous Colours.

They are worlds apart – until a crack opens up between them; a corner of white – the slim seam of a letter.

Elliot begins to write to Madeleine, the Girl-in-the-World – a most dangerous thing to do for suspected cracks must be reported and closed. But Elliot's father has disappeared and Madeleine's mother is sick.

Can a stranger from another world help to unravel the mysteries in your own? Can Madeleine and Elliot find the missing pieces of themselves before it is too late?

A mesmerising story of two worlds; the cracks between them, the science that binds them and the colours that infuse them.


What others said about A Corner of White

*"Her irresistible characters help readers navigate a tantalizingly complex plot that will leave them eagerly awaiting the next book." —Horn Book, starred review

*"Quirky, charming, funny, sad: another winner from this always-surprising author." —Kirkus, starred review

*"Lovely fantasy . . . ultimately, this is a story of two teenagers helping each other figure out their places in their respective worlds." —School Library Journal, starred review

*"The plotting is as innovative and riveting as the world-making here, and the characters are drawn with the same rich dimensionality you find in Pratchett's Discworld or one of Diana Wynne Jones's fantasies." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

'In her latest offering, popular author Jaclyn Moriarty deviates from her usual domain of contemporary teenage novel to delve into the realms of fantasy. Or does she? True, the hefty first volume of the »Colours of Madeleine« trilogy offers plenty of traditional fantasy fare including a parallel world, the quest for a missing father, evil powers, and the handsome hero. However, in her inimitable way, Moriarty combines these with a sassy modern real-world heroine who doesn’t believe in the Kingdom of Cello nor in the viciousness of dangerous colour attacks. Add to that a young hero who is constantly hindered in trying to set off on his quest, and a fairy-like creature who is supposed to save the town of Bonfire yet does nothing but sleep, and what you get is a highly amusing and engaging fantasy novel with a difference.'
- White Ravens Selection, International Youth Library

"Fabulously quirky fantasy . . . Psychological depth, heroic action, wit, suspense and invention intertwine beautifully. Not to be missed." —The Toronto Star

"Fun and charming." —CBC The Next Chapter

“Moriarty’s marvelously original fantasy is quirky, clever, and delightful…. Expect readers to flock to Moriarty’s name and stay for the whole Colors of Madeleine trilogy.” -- Booklist

“[M]oments of sharp observation, startling invention, and delightfully comic dialogue confirm Moriarty as a genre-bending author who gracefully weaves metaphysical questions into outwardly ordinary circumstances.” -- Publishers Weekly

“Moriarty’s fans will recognize her flair for epistolary storytelling and quirky characters. Humorous asides and large doses of whimsy create a breezy tone that makes moments of romance and violence unexpectedly powerful. Madeleine’s insistence that Cello is Elliot’s fabrication (“I have issues with your world-building”) provides a particularly funny, metafiction twist to the parallel-universe storyline…. [A] clever, layered story in which every seemingly innocuous detail plays a part, and the ending satisfies while opening brand-new doors for the sequel.” -- Voice of Youth Advocates

'Perfectly strange, and absolutely comical and heartfelt ... Jaclyn Moriarty is one of the
most original writers we have.'
- Markus Zusak

'Supremely original, smart, and delightful, this treasure of a book will appeal to readers
of both realistic fiction and fantasy.'
-Rachel Cohn

'An absolute delight of a novel: strange yet familiar, whimsical yet real, beautifully written
and completely captivating. I can't wait for the sequel!'
-Garth Nix


'Another one of a kind from the inimitable Moriarty, this time, a barely epistolary fantasy series opener unlike anything else out there.
Fourteen-year-old Madeleine lives in Cambridge, England, with her zany mother in uncertain circumstances, having run away from their fabulously privileged international existence. Meanwhile, Elliot lives in Bonfire, The Farms, Cello, a parallel reality that might be the real fairyland (although that's never explicitly stated, and this version seems utterly unlike most versions of fairyland). ... Moriarty's trademark wit and whimsy are on full display, with zingy dialogue that feels right if not entirely realistic and bizarre characters living unexpected lives that manage to be mundane and delightful at the same time. ...Quirky, charming, funny, sad: another winner from this always-surprising author' - Kirkus, Starred Review

'..Moriarty’s story comes across as matter-of-fact yet curious, topped off with a strong dose of humor (think Margaret Mahy). As always, her irresistible characters help readers navigate a tantalizingly complex plot that will leave them eagerly awaiting the next book.'
- Horn Book Magazine, Starred Review

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