I’ve read some of Patrick Carman’s older YA fiction and found it intriguing, particularly in ways that he (more than many others) is tapping into the transmedia aspects of publishing. Books like Skeleton Creek are creepy and visceral and oddly entertaining, particularly when part of the story unfolds as videos. So, I was anticipating a good story when my son and I picked up Floors, for slightly younger readers, but wow … I really loved the book, and its sequel (Three Below) and the third book is sitting on our book pile as the next one in the read-aloud queue. (I also met Carman at the Dublin Literacy Conference years ago and he seemed like a nice guy happy to be writing stories for a living and thinking even then of ways to push the boundaries of book publishing).
Floors is about a New York City hotel that is unlike any other hotel you have ever imagined, and about about a boy named Leo who comes to own the Whippet Hotel in the first book after being given it by the eccentric owner and Leo (and later with his friend/brother, Remi) explore the strange subterranean elements in the second book and … not yet sure what happens in the third book (The Field of Wacky Inventions) but I am sure it will be just as entertaining. If you are catching some resemblances to another boy and a chocolate factory, that is intentional as Carman riffs off the Dahl idea of a building with lots of secrets and magic and inventions.
You never know what will happen when a door opens in the Whippet Hotel. And just to know, ducks are more important than one would think. My wife thought too much was happening in these stories but my son and I disagreed (although some of the characters could use more depth), and as a read aloud, the Floors books are perfect — with lots of action, humor, villains and the unexpected. My son and I also agreed on this: Floors would make an excellent movie.
Peace (in the book)