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*The Loose End of the Rainbow* by D.B. Pacini- young adult book review  
The Loose End of the Rainbow
by D.B. Pacini
Grades 7+ 232 pages Singing Moon Press March 2009 Paperback    

D.B. Pacini’s debut novel, The Loose End of the Rainbow, is a well-intentioned attempt at a heartwarming fantasy for young readers.

Full of admirable characters and noble deeds, the story is set on the North American continent long before Columbus arrived. The protagonists, White Eagle and Paints-With-Words, are two gifted children whose destinies were prophesied before they were born. Not only do they possess supernatural powers, but other extraordinary children and beings are a constant throughout the book. All of these elements are required to help the children as they struggle with a remarkable event - in an instant, every adult in the world disappears, leaving children from all cultures to fend for themselves, care for each other, and lead their various tribes and clans toward a land where all cultures will come together as one.

The premise is good, incorporating mythologies from dozens of cultures to tell a story about unity and respect. A premise, however, is not enough to sustain a novel. Basic storytelling skills are lacking here, as are proper novelistic structure and pacing.

Pacini employs a lot of footnotes to explain terms and concepts that may be new to readers. Unfortunately the footnotes appear on almost every page, sometimes taking as much space as the narrative and presenting a constant interruption to the tale. Even without the distracting footnotes, the choppy and abundant flashbacks pull the focus away from the narrative, which fails to provide any suspense to keep readers turning the pages.

While the different beliefs and traditions are presented with the respect due them, there are simply too many to allow for a cohesive telling of the story. There is also the problem of overlapping cultures, as well as the anachronistic names, terms, and belief systems. For example, the author explains in her Author’s Note that, even though horses did not exist in North America during the time period, she has included them in her story because she likes horses. Further, she asks readers to “accept the intentional historical distortions… in this work of fiction.” Willing suspension of disbelief goes only so far. If readers accept that all adults vanish in the blink of an eye, they’ve done more than their fair share; it is the author’s duty to make certain that everything else, even in fiction, is logical within the context of the story.

The Loose End of the Rainbow should be an uplifting and morally inspirational tale. It could be just that with heavy revision and the guidance of a good editor. It appears to be self published, so perhaps D.B. Pacini will consider this a first draft that, with modification, might evolve into a fine YA novel that will find a home with a traditional publisher.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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