Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mini Reviews: Witches, Fairies, Berries, Ducks

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
In an alternate-history New England at the end of the nineteenth century, Cate and her sisters are secretly witches. In their strictly controlled society, ruled by a group of men called the Brotherhood, terrible things will happen to them if they are discovered. Cate is determined not to let that happen. I had a hard time getting into this book -- it took me forever to read it, and I never connected with the characters. I thought it was a little heavy-handed in some aspects, though the romance was nicely done. I'll admit that I picked this book up because of the pretty cover, but I'd only recommend it if you are really intrigued by the premise.

Curse of the Thirteenth Fey by Jane Yolen
Gorse, youngest of the Shouting Fey, nearly misses a command appearance at the christening of the baby princess because she falls into a trap where two other fey have been imprisoned for hundreds of years. Can she help them escape and make it back in time for the christening? I love retold fairy tales, and this was a good one, despite the fact that the Sleeping Beauty story is only a minor subplot in Gorse's story. I like Yolen's take on the fey in this book, and the setting she has created for them.

My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer by Jennifer Gennari
Twelve-year-old June and her mom have always gotten along fine -- but now Eva, her mom's girlfriend, has come to live with them, and June is not sure what she thinks about that. The book is set in 2000, just after Vermont passed civil union laws, and June and her family are caught in the upheaval over that decision. It may not be the best time for June to put herself in the spotlight by entering one of her pies in the county fair, but it's the one thing June has her heart set on during this tempestuous summer. This book is pretty brief, which young readers will probably approve of, but I thought it needed a little more development in spots.

 Lulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay
Lulu, a fervent animal lover, rescues a still-warm duck egg that rolls out of a nest during a class field trip to the park. Her teacher has strictly forbidden Lulu from bringing any more animals to school, but an egg is not an animal . . . right? This book is sweet and charming, though I didn't love it as much as McKay's Casson series (Saffy's Angel, etc.). It fits right in with other early chapter books about precocious young girls like Clementine and Marty McGuire.

(Reviewed from copies borrowed through my library system.)


  1. Is The Thirteenth Fey an expansion of a short story?

    I think I remember two short stories written with that family, one that matches overall framework of this tale.

    1. Yes, I believe it did start out as a short story, though I hadn't read (or at least, don't remember reading) the short story before I read the book.

    2. Our library got a copy! I've started it. :)