Spindlefish and Stars

Little, Brown. Sept. 2020. 400p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780316496018.
Gr 5 Up–For as long as Clothilde could remember, she has lived her life in the shadows. Traveling from town to town with her father, Clo never gets close to the townsfolk, preferring either her own company or that of her father’s. One day, her father does not return home from work and Clo is left to follow the mysterious clues he sends in order to find him. With a ticket for a “half-passage,” Clo embarks on a journey to find her father and ends up on a strange island where it is always gray and the villagers speak a language she doesn’t understand. On the island, Clo meets an apple-faced woman with an unexpected connection to Clo, a boy who fell from the sky, and a piggish cat that loves creating mischief. Unbeknownst to Clo, each character will play a role in the search for her father—a search that ultimately will give her a deeper understanding of the world. Clo’s tale is expertly written, full of beautiful imagery and elements of Greek mythology. Clo’s dynamic character growth is one to be applauded. She is thrust into a journey of self-discovery, learning not only about herself, but also her parents: the father she thought she knew and the mother she never met. Over time, Clo’s enlightening adventure teaches her to find beauty in tragedy, to help those in need, and to accept what cannot be changed while having the courage to change what she can. These timeless lessons alone make this title worth the read.
VERDICT Drawing on elements of Greek mythology, this is an engaging and inventive novel that middle grade readers will enjoy.

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