Title: Very Rich
Author: Polly Horvath
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Ten-year-old Rupert Brown comes from an ordinary family. They live in a small house in the poorest section of Steelville, Ohio, and have little money or food. So when Rupert inadvertently finds himself spending Christmas at the house of Turgid River — the richest boy in town — he is blown away to discover a whole other world, including all the food he can eat and wonderful prizes that he wins when the family plays games, prizes he hopes to take home to his family so they can have Christmas presents for the very first time. But this windfall is short-lived when Rupert loses it all in one last game and goes home empty-handed. Each member of the Rivers family feels guilty about what happened and, unbeknownst to each other, tries to make it up to Rupert in their own unique way, taking him on one unlikely adventure after another.
This was an unusual story. It follows many adventures that Rupert has with the members of the Rivers family.
Rupert comes from a very poor family. They eat oatmeal for every meal because they can’t afford much else. The Rivers family is the opposite. They have every extravagance possible. Rupert ends up spending Christmas with them, but his great evening takes a horrible turn when Rupert loses all of the prizes he won in the games. Then over the following weeks, the members of the Rivers family try to make up for taking all of Rupert’s gifts away.
I found this story very strange. The Rivers family kept dangling gifts and food in front of Rupert but didn’t actually give them to him. It was so cruel. There were some fantasy elements like time travel, but these moments didn’t fit in with the rest story because the rest of it was fairly realistic.
This story reminded me of some other children’s stories. Rupert’s family is in the same unfortunate situation as Charlie Bucket’s family in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The narration style and circumstances of Rupert’s life were like the Beaudelaire children in A Series of Unfortunate Events. However, I found this book was missing the excitement and redemption that these stories had.
What to read next:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket
Have you read Very Rich? What did you think of it?