MUSINGS OF A STORY MERCHANT

Friday, September 7, 2007

More great reviews

Review of Alaya Dawn Johnson’s Racing the Dark

Adult/High School-A coming-of-age story set on a Polynesian-like island. Alana faces her approaching puberty ritual with great concern as the entire population faces devastating typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanoes, brought on by the angry spirits of wind, water, and fire. Apprenticed to a witch, the girl denies her true power. She naively thinks that her sacrifice will save her mother, but she is caught in a web of deception. Dark forces erupt, changing all her plans. This novel has rich details of setting and character motivation. The prose is lyrical and metaphorical, in a style similar to Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist (HarperCollins, 1993).

There are also elements of Greek myths in which mortals and spirits meet with mostly tragic results. The complex plot requires careful reading but the effort is worth it. Teens who enjoyed Ursula Le Guin's Always Coming Home (HarperCollins, 1985; o.p.) will like this novel, and many readers will identify with
a character facing adult responsibilities while still feeling like a child.-Deirdre Cerkanowicz, Berkeley Public Library, CA










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Review of Royce Buckingham’s Demonkeeper

School Library Journal
9/1/2007

Gr 4–7—Buckingham has written an enjoyable novel that is both scary and laugh-out-loud funny. Nat, the clumsy new Demonkeeper, and his three mischievous minions live in an old mansion filled with animate objects—lamps, quilts, and even the porch move. When local boys accidentally release the Beast that Nat is responsible for keeping captive, the teen works with a mousy library assistant and a tough street kid to find and stop the orphan-eating demon and the Thin Man who is trying to take charge of it. While the characters are mostly teenagers, the book is definitely for a younger audience. The story, set in Seattle, is fantastical, but with very current and realistic characters. Fast-paced and full of action and suspense, this wacky novel is a good choice for reluctant

readers.—Sharon Senser McKellar, Oakland Public Library, CA











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