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Archive for the ‘Magical Realism’ Category

everlostTeenagers Allie and Nick are traveling in cars that collide head-on and are killed instantly. As they travel down the tunnel towards that proverbial light, they bump into each other, knocking one another into a kind of young adult purgatory  known  as “Everlost”. There are no adults in Everlost because, as one character explains, “even when adults are lost, they seem to believe they know where they are going.” Ha! Maybe they should say that no men are in Everlost? 🙂 Sorry, I digress…Right, there are no adults in Everlost. There are a whole set of rules and dangers in Everlost that they must learn if they are to survive. They must keep moving or they sink into the core of the Earth. No one can interact with the living unless they possess a special power called “skin jacking”. Certain beloved objects can be knocked into Everlost intact–like the World Trade Center–and the children can use them. A monster stalks Everlost known simply as “the McGill”. Nick and Allie traverse this parallel world in search of a way out, but where to? Can they get back to life? To death? This is a really great, fast paced adventure that begins a trilogy that both middle and upper schoolers will enjoy.

(The Skinjacker Trilogy: Everlost, Everwild, Everfound)

Reviewed by Mrs. Archambault

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If you’re as frustrated as I am with unseasonably warm weather so close to Christmas then I suggest you cool off with Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. This is the story of seventeen year old Grace who has spent years watching a pack of wolves living in the wintry Minnesota woods behind her house, feeling inexplicably connected to them. One yellow-eyed wolf, “her wolf”, watches back. Sam is no ordinary wolf. He is actually a werewolf who spends the cold months in his wolf form, silently watching Grace, and in the warm months he is simply a quiet boy who works at the local book store. The only constant: his unusual yellow eyes. When the two finally meet in human form, their love blossoms beautifully. As if teen relationships weren’t difficult enough, this one is tested constantly by the slightest drop in temperature. Action packed without a lot of gore, this romantic tale is a sensory delight. You’re guaranteed to feel the chill of a cold Minnesota morning, to smell hot chocolate in the air, to visualize the light dappled woods as the wolves run through it. For mature teens and adults alike, I definitely recommend this one to be enjoyed in front of a fire, under a soft blanket, with a hot cup of cocoa preferably.

 

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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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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