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Author: Hellisen, Cat
Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast . . . unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 174592
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 69992
Kirkus Reviews (+) (11/15/14)
School Library Journal (11/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (03/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 11/01/2014 Gr 7–10—This tangled tale of jealousy and revenge retells the classic "Beauty and the Beast" story, but with a twist. Thirteen-year-old Sarah lies awake, listening to an argument between her parents; an argument that ends with her mother's departure. Time passes and Sarah's father becomes stranger and stranger, eventually insisting that Sarah go live with grandparents she has never known. Sarah soon learns the story behind her mother's disappearance and the odd history of her estranged family. Sarah's grandmothers are sisters and witches, one by birth and one by fostering. In times past when a handsome prince came knocking, curses began to fly between the sisters, resulting in an unfortunate legacy that has carried down to the current generation: the first time Sarah falls in love, she will transform into a beast. Sarah is determined to end the curse, overcoming the vengeful spirit who started it all, but the price she must pay is almost as painful as the curse itself. With lush, descriptive language and complicated familial relationships, this complex story line challenges readers to pay close attention the the details. Hand this middle grade/YA crossover to tweens and teens who enjoy dark fairy-tale retellings.—Susan Harris, Ridgeway High School, TN - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 11/15/2014 Because her mother craved the warmth of the sun, Sarah and her parents frequently packed up and moved. Lonely and friendless, Sarah always desired some magic in her life. On the day her mother leaves, never to return, odd things begin to happen. Her father’s hair grows dark and thick as he becomes beastlike, and Sarah meets an improbable boy named Alan, who disappears as quickly as he appears in the Not-a-Forest near her home. Before Sarah’s father transforms completely, he takes her to live with her grandparents—who are not dead, as it turns out. Nanna lives in a cold, dark castle with a white raven that spies on Sarah, while Grandfather is kept in a cage and fed meat scraps. From Alan, Sarah learns about the family curse, and so she wanders deep into the forest, toward the Within, so that she might stop the curse before it destroys her. Despite a slow start, this haunting tale successfully addresses the toll that long-term jealousy and revenge can have on families—and how love can heal even the deepest rifts. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2015 In this elegant, lyrical, and startling original fairy tale, Sarah’s family is cursed on both sides, and she is caught in the middle, resisting the effects on herself while also trying to save her strange but beloved parents. Her father is doomed to become the same beast that her grandfather is now, and her mother has been transformed into a bird. It’s all a lot to absorb, particularly since Sarah only learned about it when she was dumped at her grandparents’ home a few days earlier. Thirteen-year-old Sarah is confused and frightened by the complex curse, but she manages to put together pieces of the puzzle, sometimes with the help of the mysterious and ageless Alan, who has been around for decades and shares what he knows as necessary. There is no true happy ending possible, but Sarah’s made of sturdy stock, and she’ll take happy enough and do quite nicely with it. While there are hints of “Beauty and the Beast” here, this is a story all its own, and older fans of fairy tales and their retellings will revel in this poetic, tragic, epic story of a girl who is faced with the worst of what people can choose and instead decides to step outside of the curse and make her own way. AS - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.