Aldo’s Fantastical Movie Palace

Jonathan Friesen, Author
Jonathan Friesen. Zondervan, $15.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-310-72110-9
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-310-40131-5
Paperback - 313 pages - 978-0-310-72321-9
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Friesen (The Last Martin) pens a fantasy adventure with touches of magical realism in this novel about 14-year-old Chloe and her new friend, Nick. Chloe, ridiculed as Scarface by her classmates after an accident caused by her inventor father, has become a loner, retreating to the projection room of the movie theater her mother runs. Nick, a blind boy with a secret, moves to town. They begin to work on a screenplay about the magical land of Retinya and are transported there. Vaepor, an evil, shape-shifting cloud, is destroying the beautiful country and enslaving its people. Every year they are forced on a pilgrimage to a special pond that wipes their memories away, and by this act Vaepor maintains his hold over them. Secholit, their former leader, enlists Chloe to help them remember. One problematic aspect of the narrative is that readers know only what Chloe knows about Retinya. Her charming helpers in Retinya are almost as mystified as she is, and they too must struggle in confusion with her to the ending, which comes together in a satisfying way. Readers will also have to hang in there for enlightenment. Ages 11–up. Agent: Deidre Knight, Knight Literary. (Aug.)
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