Eleven-year-old Juniper has watched as her famous parents have pulled away and become absolutely absorbed in their acting roles, forgetting their daughter and family life. Isolated in a mansion behind gates, homeschooled and far from neighbors, Juniper decides to get to the bottom of her parents strange behavior.
When Juniper discovers a strange boy in her yard, during a rainstorm, she finally makes a friend. What she and Giles have in common is the behavior of their parents. Giles has tracked his parents to a tree in Juniper’s yard. Together the children discover the root of their parents’ fame and fortune and bizarre demeanor hidden inside.
In the process, Juniper and Giles must face the temptation to make their own deepest dreams and wishes come true – all which can be granted by a strange creature with an obsession with balloons.
I would, in turns, love the poetic phrases and then be brought up short by the author’s word selection. P. 157 “Right before Juniper’s eyes, her mother vanished.” But the paragraph goes on to explain and contradict that statement.
The flashbacks were jarring enough to bring me out of the story and cause me to reread the passage wondering what I missed.
However, the fundamental flaw lies in the concept behind the story. The premise is that Juniper’s parents are trading their souls for the dream of success. It takes the love of their daughter to face the demon – a creature that lives in a tree on the grounds of a mansion which they purchased from the success of their efforts. Why would they go looking for dream fulfillment when they were already living it?
Adding salt to this review, the production value of the print edition was not stellar. I did not care for the ragged page edges that made it difficult to find the next page to turn. And the paper was not pleasant to hold.