February 23, 2018

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The Wrinkled Crown by Anne Nesbet | SLJ Review

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WrinkledCrownNESBET, Anne. The Wrinkled Crown. 400p. ebook available. HarperCollins/Harper. Nov. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062104298.
Gr 3-7–Linny is approaching her coming-of-age “twelve ceremony,” when she will at last be able to touch a lourka—the almost magical, exquisitely toned, stringed instrument, named for Linny’s village in the wrinkled hills. The instrument has been forbidden to her until now. The trouble is, Linny has already broken this strict rule and made her own lourka, which she plays in secret, and only her best friend Sayra knows. This transgression sets in motion a chain of events that leaves Linny no choice but to journey to Bend, the Broken City of the plains, to find a remedy for the curse she has inadvertently caused to threaten Sayra’s life. Fortunately for Linny, her good friend Elias will not let her go alone. Facing a host of Orwellian gray-suited map-making enemies and with the assistance of a Half-Cat and a magician, Linny discovers that her journey has already been foretold, right down to the very dress she wears, given to her by her mother for her birthday. War is imminent in the Broken City as magic clashes with math and science, and when Elias and Linny are separated, Elias is recruited as a terrorist. Linny must use all her intelligence and intuition to save them both. Nesbet has a sure touch in bringing this breathless tale to tween readers. Her characters are realistic and likable. Nesbet’s writing is deft and unpredictable, with adventure following adventure, keeping readers hooked to the end, and with hints of a sequel to come. Linny’s strength lies in her willingness to embrace scientific knowledge and marry it to the magic of intuition. The Broken City can be a metaphor for many current destabilized regions, but it’s a place where a young girl can save the world if she uses her intelligence—and learns to read a map. VERDICT This well-developed fantasy/adventure is a first purchase for middle grade collections.–Jane Barrer, United Nations International School, New York City

This review was published in School Library Journal‘s August 2015 issue.

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