Oh, dear. It’s happened again. The book for today’s book group is almost as annoying and self-consciously clever as Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians. For today’s book group, the sixth graders almost unanimously chose The Seems: The Glitch in Sleep by John Hulme and Michael Wexler, the first in a series that has been moderately popular at my library. I was looking forward to reading this book…and then I started it. Ick. That’s really the only word I can use to describe it – ick. The authors have created a fantasy about The World (that would be where you and I live) and The Seems, where the crew that keeps The World running live and work. There are people working in the Department of Sleep and the Department of Weather, there are Fixers and Case Workers, and there is a connection between The World and The Seems that involves The Door and the Transport Tube (and don’t forget to wear your Transport GogglesTM while in the Transport Tube). And all of those capital letters are not my invention – the authors did that. The name of almost every object begins with a capital letter, and many things are trademarked (like the Transport Goggles) or have annoying footnotes explaining them.
I know I’m not the target audience, and that if I were younger I might have a different perspective on this book. But I also know that I talked to the mom of one of the kids in the book group, and she told me that her child would not be attending today’s group because her child hated the book so much. So my harsh judgement of this book may be echoed by the kids in today’s discussion. Even if the kids don’t all agree with me, though, I really do think I’m justified in criticizing this book for trying too darn hard to be cute and clever. I repeat: ICK.