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Friday, December 13, 2013

Knife, written by R J Anderson. Orchard Books. 2009. $10.99 ages 10 and up

"When she did look back, she saw Paul bow his head, then slowly unfold his hand to reveal the photograph he had torn from the album. With surprising gentleness he smoothed it out upon his lap and gazed down at his younger self, while Knife watched, her anger melting into perplexity. Why that picture, she wondered, of all the pictures they had seen?"

I did not set out to love this book. It is not a book that I would generally choose to read. But, it is on the list of juvenile intermediate fiction that our jury is currently reading for the Canadian Children's Book Centre and their upcoming spring issue of Best Books for Kids and Teens. That is what I truly love about being on the jury...I read books that I might have missed.

I am certainly happy that I spent time reading about a family of faeries who live in a huge old oak tree called Oakenwyld. They no longer have the magic they once had, and their numbers are quickly dwindling. Knife is the lead character, a brave and capable hunter within her faerie family. That honored role allows her to be outside and she rejoices in it, as she has spent too many years wishing she could be away from the confinements of her quiet room within the tree. She has been warned often about the dangers from natural predators and of contact with humans. Yet, when she meets Paul, a man confined to a wheelchair following an accident, she feels no concern for her own safety.
She enjoys the time they spend together, and learns much about the outside world during their conversations.

The characters are equally compelling and entirely unique , the world created is elaborate and intriguing, all of the secrets kept enrage,  and the winding path toward discovering the mysterious events that have brought the faeries to this place in time kept me reading long into the night,  and always eager to see what might happen next.

Can Knife trust Paul to help her find the answers to her many questions? In this classically traditional tale of faerie lore, readers will find secrets, mystery, friendship, great love and romance. There is little kindness within the faeries' world until Knife breaks the mold: she disobeys the Queen, she shows daring and bravery in the face of obstacles and sadness, she makes friends with a human who is as much in need of her as she is of him, and she is dogged in her search for the truth that will ensure the future of her faerie world.

It is a story worth reading. Now, I am off to read the sequel, Rebel. LUCKY ME!

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