April 22, 2018

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Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren | SLJ Review

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redstarMAAREN, Kari. Weave a Circle Round. 368p. TorTeen. Nov. 2017. pap. $15.99. ISBN 9780765386281.

Gr 7-10 –Fans of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time will devour this debut author’s adventurous new fantasy. Afraid of being called “weird,” Freddy Duchamp tries to be invisible at school, but her brilliant little sister Mel and deaf stepbrother Roland often draw too much attention to her. Making matters worse are the new next-door neighbors and quirky Josiah, a boy her age, who follows her to every class. Freddy senses something strange is going on with the newcomers, and soon she’s swept away with Josiah on an epic quest through time. Mingling with Vikings, warriors, mythical figures, and futuristic races, her journey becomes one of self-discovery as well as one of self-preservation. Even Roland, her clumsy, annoying stepbrother, doesn’t seem so bad with centuries keeping them apart. Yet Josiah seems to be harboring a secret, and Freddy must find the courage to seek the answers if she ever wants to return to her family. This is one of those rare books that surprises readers at every turn because Maaren’s deft writing keeps the story impossible to predict. Although the cast of characters is big and the science mind-bending, readers will relate to awkward Freddy’s desire to fit in and the coming-of-age lessons she learns from each character on her path. Ultimately, the theme of being true to yourself and yet still kind to others will resonate with young people. VERDICT This wildly imaginative book deserves to be on every YA fantasy shelf.–Sandi Jones, Wynne High School, AR

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

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