Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lucretia and the Kroons a Review

Lucretia and The Kroons

by Victor LaValle
Kindle, Barnes and Noble
Goodreads Summary:
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.

Okay, so this is a pretty unique story. The first half is set in the real world with Lucretia, nicknamed Loochie, having a birthday party for herself. She loosely fits in with three girls who I have to say are real snots who her mother has invited to her house for a party. It doesn't end well. Loochie throws them out calling them whores. She puts her ice cream cake back in the freezer and tells her mom she'll celebrate her birthday when her bestfriend, Sunny comes home from cancer treatment in Tennessee.  It did surprise me that Sunny was in Tennessee getting treatment when they lived in NYC with supposedly the best doctors and I always assumed the best facilities and treatments for cancer.

Months later, Sunny comes home and Loochie is in denial. She sees how frail her friend is, how hard she has to work to breathe, but she still thinks her friend is coming down to spend a few hours with her and they'll celebrate her birthday. While waiting her brother drops by to pick her mom up for lunch. He tells her about the Kroons in 6D who snatch little kids and burn them up. That they almost got him one time. He tells her, "Being young doesn't protect you. Horrors come for kids, too." Loochie's mind is focused on the Kroons as she listens to sirens wail up the street and stop at her building. She knows there are a lot of old people in her building and wonders who they came for. It never enters her mind that it could be for Sunny.

Circumstances lead her to the fire escape again where she sees Sunny's grandmother bent over with wracking sobs. The Kroons have Sunny and Loochie is on her way to get her back. In through the window she goes and immediately her belt and shoes are snatched off of her by a strange man with a dented face.
She gets loose and thus begins her journey into the strange land of 6D. There is a park there, the one she and Sunny always visited, Flushing Meadows. And though it's a bit askew, it is their park and she knows exactly where to find Sunny. She is chased by the Kroons but escapes several times and comes to the Playground for Lost Children. There isn't a child in sight. Just abandoned toys all over. And she wonders if this is where Sunny and all the other sick children go. But there are no bones. So she doesn't give up hope. And that is where she and Sunny are reunited. Sunny is fiesty as ever and they outrun and outsmart the Kroons with the help of one of the other Kroons. 

Slowly, as they spend their remaining time together, Sunny explains that she is headed to the Shea, a stadium where kids spend eternity running around sitting wherever they want, never sick. She even thinks her hair might grow back and she'll never have to get more treatments. Loochie asks her to stay, asks her "Don't you love me?" And Sunny asks the same. It's a time of transition, of letting go of Sunny. There is a lot of symbolism in the novel even as they battle the Kroons.

It's a unique story, a prequel to The Devil in Silver, an adult novel, but I think it can stand alone. The last few pages seemed to be tacked onto the story as an after thought and felt a little jarring. Like it hadn't been written by the same author. Lucretia had been written so tenderly and carefully, her time with the Kroons so thoughtfully and symbolic, I just felt the last few pages could have had the same effort put into them.

There is some strong language in it, but only a couple of times and it does deal with death. Use your best judgement as to age appropriateness. This is not billed as YA but could definitely be.

I was asked to review this by Random House publishing. I received a copy for review from NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review. The opinions in my review are my own.



  1. Oh this one sounds interesting. My guess is that it's not YA because the main book isn't? Hm... It is dark enough to make me really want to dive into it. It also sounds a bit emotional... I hope I don't cry!

    Great review. This series is now on my radar!!

  2. You read so many books that I've never even heard of! It does sound unique, but I'm not sure how off putting the ending would be to me. I don't like when I feel like things are disconnected.

    - Jessica @ Book Sake


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