Book Review: “The Train Of Lost Things” by Ammi-Joan Paquette

Cover of "The Train Of Lost Things" by Ammi-Joan Paquette.
Cover of “The Train Of Lost Things” by Ammi-Joan Paquette.

Here’s the summary so we know what it’s about:

“Marty cherishes the extra-special birthday present his dad gave him — a jean jacket on which he’s afixed numerous buttons — because it’s a tie to his father, who is sick and doesn’t have much time left. So when his jacket goes missing, Marty is devastated. When his dad tells him the story of the Train of Lost Things, a magical train that flies through the air collecting objects lost by kids, Marty is sure that the train must be real, and that if he can just find the train and get his jacket back, he can make his dad better as well.

It turns out that the train is real — and it’s gone out of control. Instead of just collecting things that have been accidentally lost, the train has been stealing things. Along with Dina and Star, the girls he meets aboard the train, Marty needs to figure out what’s going on and help set it right. As he searches for his jacket, and for a way to fix the train, Marty begins to wonder whether he’s looking for the right things after all. And he realizes that sometimes you need to escape reality in order to let it sink in.”

Plot Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The overall main plot was fun to read. I thought that the concept of the titular train was really fun, especially with how all the lost things make it onto the train in the first place. The first half of the book was fun to read, as it gave me (as a reader) a great introduction to Marty’s home life, his main situation, and how he tries to cope with and/or solve the problem.

Obviously, Marty learns that he can’t change certain things. His father dies at the end, and he learns that he has to accept the new reality he has ahead of him. It’s tragic, but true – there are certain things that are just inevitable, no matter what you do, and all you can do is move forward. Fortunately, Marty does get his jacket by the end of the story (though not in the way he expects to initially get it).

Unfortunately, the second half of the book drags on much longer than it needed to. That is the main reason the rating is a 3.5 and not, say, a 4.5 out of 5.

Character Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Marty, Dina, and Star are so fun to read in this book. Dina and Star’s development are both a bit rushed, but I think it’s because the book focused on Marty’s internal conflict and development the most. This makes sense, given that he’s the main character.

Dina and Star’s character development are shoved into the latter half of the story. This means that the plot dragged on thanks to focusing on developing their backstories as quickly as possible. I wish the book paced out their respective backstories along with Marty’s better throughout the whole book, though I understand why the story couldn’t if Marty is the main character and the main conflict hinged on him working through his grief and coping with loss.

Overall, I’m rating this book 3.5 out of 5 stars!

If you enjoy reading stories about magical trains and coping with loss, this might be a good story for you!

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