08 October 2013
Blythewood by Carol Goodman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Blythewood is a strange, different YA book that involves a magical school and witches and all sorts of creepy things. This is a long-standing trope among this age group, and yet this book works significantly better than most of them, creating a rich world with a lot of unexpected happenings.
The plot is fairly basic: after Avaline's mother commits suicide following her survival from the Triangle Shirtwaist fire. Avaline is brought to a boarding school - the same one her mother was expelled from as a child, and there she learns more about her own life, her mother, and a lot of details about things she never understood before.
This works because it has an epic-style length and still moves at a pretty breakneck pace. Avaline is a great character, the school is mysterious and interesting without being a retread, and there's equal parts whimsy and craziness. I read this some time ago, and many of the themes and situations still resonate extremely strongly in my mind.
I wish I had a lot more to say about this book except that I really, really loved this book. If you enjoy stories with magic and fantasy, and are looking for something a little more mature for the YA age group, grab this one immediately.
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