Arthur Pullman’s famous grandfather passed away shortly before this story begins. He believes there is more to the story and his family is too greedy and self-absorbed to investigate it. When clues start to appear at the family’s cabin, that makes Arthur set off on a grand voyage across the United States to find out what truly happened to his grandfather.
The biggest downfall here, for me, was the characters. I think they might be made to be unlikable but even so, I should still enjoy reading about them. We have a bit of an unreliable narrator here and that is something that I have not read a lot of, so it was something interesting and new for me. There was no connection there for them, but I will say, this is one of the young adult books that I have read where I have found the adults to be annoying and the kids to be less so.
The atmosphere in this novel was cool. In America, our train system is not the most used source of transportation, so it was awesome getting to see it being used in this story. The reader also gets to see the small railroad towns of the west and Midwest, somewhere that the average person probably has not visited. I liked getting to explore some of these places that I have never heard of.
The plot started out strong and I loved how Arthur was going out and discovering this mystery of his grandfather’s disappearance and then death. The atmosphere and literature played into the plot nicely. Towards the middle, we get these ‘cult’ aspects and that turned it off for me. It brought this from being a 3.5 to a three star.
The writing was albeit strange. I should say it was more formatting than anything, just a guess. We would randomly have a flashback scene with no break in the page or anything, so it was quite confusing for the reader. There should have been a break in the page or maybe even starting a new chapter all together. Other than that, this writing was above average for a young adult novel.
The biggest downfall here, for me, was the characters. I liked getting to explore some of these places that I have never heard of. The plot started out strong and I loved how Arthur was going out and discovering this mystery of his grandfather’s disappearance and then death. This writing was above average for a young adult novel. This book touched on a lot of important subjects like the protests of the Vietnam war, capitalism, police brutality, mental health, and Alzheimer’s. I knew of some of these subjects before but for the ones that I did not it has given me a good place to start on my research.
3 out of 5 stars