The world-building in Oddity is mesmerizing. Thirteen-year-old Clover Elkin becomes a force to be recognized as she sets an unrelenting path to fulfill her father’s last request. Her task seems simple: to take the oddity he has kept hidden all these years to the city of New Manchester. Yet looking at the items from her father’s medical bag yields no oddities. He only ever wanted her to be safe, but the past has a way of wanting to be unraveled. Her journey is further complicated as she learns that the people she meets are driven by their past and debts. Will her experiences change her for the better or turn her into the twisted version of herself that others have fallen prey to? She learns over and over that humans don’t collect oddities, but oddities do seem to collect their humans and she is one of them.
The illustrations come at the perfect times in the story to enrich the tale further in this version of America that consists of only 11 unified states and a power-driven Senator that can’t wait to be the next President.
What left me wanting more:
The story is complete all on its own, yet I hope the author revisits this version of America with tales on how magical Oddities began and just how did our histories diverge? Another story I want to read about this world is what happens next with the budding second war between the French Louisianans, The Unified States, and the Sehanna Confederation?
It took me a while to settle into the idea that the story was based on an alternate America instead of a completely different fantasy world. However, I came to appreciate the texture given to the story by this choice. It kept catching my attention and making me wonder what if? about our history if we hadn’t made the Louisiana purchase? What’s in a name, a moment in history, an impact one’s decisions can have on everyone and history itself?
Oddity is geared for ages 10-14, but the richness of the story makes it continue to be an engaging page-turner for older ages as well. The plot will keep you guessing and has many surprising developments along the way to get Clover to where she needs to be to try to halt a war. Its use of setting in an alternate America can lead to thought-provoking discussions or a book club favorite. This is definitely an Oddity worthy of your collection!