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Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

After devouring two of Oliver’s books (Delirium and Pandemonium), I had to go back and read her debut novel, Before I Fall. In a Glee mash up, this would be Groundhog Day meets Thirteen Reasons Why. It was witty and poignant, but also unnerving and annoying as the main character, Sam, has a go at the same day over and over (and over) again. Chock full of valuable lessons, this is a great young adult read if you can get past the repetition. I was going to write a plot synopsis, but in preparing for next week’s conference presentation all about utilizing technology to promote young adult reading, I found this great book trailer that *hopefully* does the trick! Let me know what you think and what you’re doing with book trailers yourself!

Reviewed by Mrs. Archambault

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ImageThe title of this novel is taken from the book of Ezekiel in which the prophet describes the perfect place awaiting believers as a “Land of Decoration.” In a rundown English factory town, 11-year-old Judith and her father cling to this promise as their daily lives become increasingly difficult. Judith’s mother died giving birth to her, bullies at school torment her relentlessly, and she is sure her father does not love her. As refuge, Judith creates her own “Land of Decoration,” a miniature world composed of found objects where peace and happiness dwell. Her father, meanwhile, withdraws into himself as the workers at his factory strike creating hardship throughout the town. Judith, however, believes in miracles and that God speaks to her encouraging her to perform her “miracles” and make things right. Despite all this, things become increasingly worse. Is Judith truly hearing God’s voice? Is she making miracles happen. Will things ever get better?

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

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If you like Rick Riordan, you will love this book! Cyrus and Antigone (Tigs), two siblings living with their older brother Dan in an old hotel, The Archer, take in an unusual guest. This guest changes everything. In less then 24 hours after this strange man arrives, Dan is missing, the Archer is burned to the ground, and Cyrus and Tigs find themselves in Ashtown, one of the headquarters of a secret explorer society. To top it all off, they both have to protect the most valuable weapon on earth, a set of keys that open any doors, and learn to fly a plane and learn Latin in a year. They meet many interesting characters, but they might not ever see their brother again. They form a group called the “Pentagoners” that may sometimes break the rules, but is always there for the good. This is an amazing book filled with historical character illusions, action, and much more!

 

Reviewed by Tigris ’16

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Teenager Lin Fox is a stranger in a strange land—Germany, where her father has come on a quest to locate a priceless artifact. The medieval (and possibly mythical) Allerheiligen stained glass is believed by some to be lost, by others to have been destroyed, and by virtually all to be haunted. A mysterious letter persuades Dr. Fox that he can be the one to find it—but someone else is determined to ensure that the glass stays hidden forever.

First, a stranger is found dead in an orchard, then one of Dr. Fox’s contacts is mysteriously drowned—both bodies inexplicably surrounded by shards of glass. As dark superstitions simmer, Lin embarks on her own search to find the glass. She realizes that what she must find is not only the truth about the legendary glass but a way to save the lives of those she loves.

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

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Laugh and love! Novella length, no one’s heard of it and it is my favorite Tolkien. Great adventure, hilarious fairytale/swashbuckler parody, and really, perhaps the best old annoyed-with-the-world dragon ever written, the terrifying and oh so bored, Chrysophylax Dives!

Reviewed by Mrs. Bolden

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This is a deep, spellbinding novel that moves between contemporary times and one of the most fascinating, controversial, and disturbing periods of American history–the Salem witch trials. Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer researching and preparing for her doctoral dissertation in order to please her faculty mentor, Mr. Chillingworth.  But when her eccentric mother, Grace, asks Connie to help handle the sale of her grandmother’s old house near Salem, Connie can’t refuse.  As she investigates into the mysteries of the abandoned home, she discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth-century Bible.  The key contains a yellowed fragment of parchment with a name scrawled upon it: Deliverance Dane.  This discovery launches Connie on a quest—to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.    As the pieces of Deliverance’s story fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to understand that she is more tied to Salem’s dark past then she could have ever imagined.    Written with conviction and grace, “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” travels seamlessly between the witch trials in the 1690s and a modern woman’s story of mystery, intrigue and revelation.

Reviewed by Johanna ’12

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Magicians by Lev Grossman

Mixing the magic of beloved children’s fantasy classics with the excess, angst, and anticlimax of life in college and beyond, Magicians is a modern-day fantasy for adults. Quentin Coldwater lives in a state of perpetual melancholy, privately obsessed with his childhood books about the enchanted land of Fillory. When he’s admitted to the secret Brakebills Academy for an education in magic, Quentin finds mastering spells is tedious. He also discovers his power has thrilling potential–though it’s unclear what he should do with it once he’s moved with his new magician friends to New York City. Then they discover the magical land of Fillory is real and launch an expedition to use their powers to set things right in the kingdom–which, naturally, turns out to be a much murkier proposition than expected. The Magicians does what Quentin claims books never really manage to do: “get you out, really out, of where you were and into somewhere better. ” Or if not better, at least a heck of a lot more interesting.

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

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