The Emperor of Any Place by Tim Wynne-Jones was a book chosen by my Facebook YA book club. Most of the people in the group said that they had a hard time getting into it. I had put it on hold at the library, but by the time I picked it up, I’d almost decided not to bother reading it. After all, I have about a thousand other books on my TBR.
I read the jacket copy, and the premise intrigued me, so I started reading, fulling intending to abandon it at the first sign of boredom.
That never happened.
It’s not a typical book. It starts off with 16-year-old Evan’s father dying. While Evan is overwhelmed with grief, he allows someone to call his estranged grandfather, Griff.
Evan has never met Griff, but Evan’s father had nothing but negative things to say about him. In the meantime, Evan finds a handwritten book his father was reading before he died, about an American and Japanese soldier stranded on a ghost-infested island during WWII. Somehow, it has something to do with Evan’s grandfather, but no one will give any answers.
The story shifts in point of view between Evan, the Japanese soldier, and the American soldier. It’s a strange story, but I had no trouble suspending disbelief throughout.
I sped through this book, couldn’t put it down. I wanted to solve the mystery and find out the truth about Griff. I wanted Evan and Griff to work through their anger and listen to one another.
I take book recommendations from other people, but this is why I don’t allow other people’s opinions to stop me from at least trying a book. If I’d assumed that because it was hard for others to get into, it would also be hard for me to connect, I would have missed a fantastic book. Allowing myself the option to abandon a book means that I never have to finish something I hate. It’s liberating, and means I can try books I’m just not sure I’ll like.
What books have you read (and enjoyed) that others didn’t like?