The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter

Life in a small town isn't any fun for the Hardscrabble childrenl their father is always leaving them home while he travels and people in town avoid them for being peculiar. When their father inadvertently sends them to London to stay with an aunt who's away on holiday in Germany, the children are presented with a rare opportunity for adventure- all by themselves. The streets of London are fascinating, but not so great for sleeping. So the Hardscrabbles make their way to another small town- but this one has a mystery. Legend has it, there's a monstrous creature roaming the woods, half boy and half animal. Surely such nonsense couldn't possibly be true, could it?

Ahh, where do I start?

I cannot begin to tell you how much I loved this book. It is one of the most witty and bizarre books I've ever read, and this one has become my favorite among all. There's something about The Kneebone Boy that struck you in the heart and you just feel like laughing all the time, and sometimes you just wanna cry your eyes out. The Hardscrabble children are an incredibly likeable trio and you can't help but love them for being weird and you just want to hug all of them. The characterization of everyone is very memorable and endearing. The quiet Otto with his mysterious scarf and fragile nature, Lucia the headstrong sister with an undying passion for adventure, and genius little Max who always think things ahead and saying the most interesting stuffs. Other characters are just as interesting as the Hardscrabbles like great-aunt Haddie Piggit who seemed a bit loony and mysterious, or Saint George the viking-like taxidermist who liked to scare kids off. There is something about the characters that you just want to root for all of them, and I love the way the author presented them in such playful manners you never find a moment to not be amused.

The thing about this book that made me love it so much is that how the whole things about adventure and their weird behavior serves to show the innocence of these children, and the tragedy that lingers upon them. One of the key conflict here is that the their mother had gone missing, and this become one of the focal point for the children always looking out and sometimes fight one another. And the way these siblings understood each other without even saying it just made me feel so sad sometimes. I especially liked Lucia because she is so protective and yet at the same time very clingy to her brothers, especially to Otto, perhaps the most vulnerable of the three. I so enjoyed their adventure and the way the unknown narrator (I think I know who it is) tell the stories with smart word play which makes this book such an enjoyable read. My personal favorite quote is this one;

“Look, when do the really interesting things happen? Not when you've brushed your teeth and put on your pyjamas and are cozy in bed. They happen when you are cold and uncomfortable and hungry and don't have a roof over your head for the night.” 

  That said, I highly recommend this book to everyone.