March 17, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore | SLJ Review

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redstarCASHORE, Kristin. Jane, Unlimited. 464p. Penguin/Kathy Dawson Bks. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780803741492.

Gr 9 Up –Before her Aunt Magnolia died in a blizzard in Antarctica, she made Jane promise to accept any invitation she might receive to visit Tu Reviens. When her high school tutor, Kiran, extends an invitation to her family’s annual spring gala at Tu Reviens, Jane knows she has to accept even though she is still deep in mourning for the aunt who had raised her. But the estate (and the impossibly rich and peculiar family that inhabits it) is far more perilous than she could have possibly imagined. Befriended by a very odd dog named Jasper and the intriguing Ivy, Jane is drawn into an Alice in Wonderland–like adventure where nothing makes sense, and danger and intrigue are the order of the day. According to the author’s note, Cashore has incorporated elements of many of her favorite books into this hefty novel. The book is divided into multiple long chapters, each offering readers different paths for Jane. Each “direction” adopts the format and narrative structure of a distinct genre, sometimes to great effect, but occasionally leading readers into a confusing jumble of characters and subplots. Nevertheless, teens will willingly be pulled headlong into a novel that ranges in topics from space-travel to umbrella-making to art theft to kidnapping and international espionage. VERDICT This excellent, genre-bending title is a great pick for teens looking for something challenging to take them off the well-beaten path of ­standard YA fare.–Jane Henriksen Baird, ­Anchorage Public Library, AK

This review was published in the School Library Journal August 2017 issue.

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