The Raven's Tale

368p. Amulet. Apr. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781419733628.
Gr 7 Up—Seventeen-year-old Edgar Allan Poe is ready to go to college to escape his overbearing foster father, who believes poetry is a waste of time. Although Poe admires Byron and love poems, he secretly yearns to tell tales of death and darkness. While he is daydreaming in church about 72 people who died in a theater fire, his Muse manifests into a raven-haired girl. Muses of art are frowned upon because they lead to debauchery, and Edgar tries hard to abandon his Muse, Lenore, but it becomes too late as the town and his father have encountered her. Hoping to escape Lenore at the University of Virginia, Poe finds himself in deeper trouble as he is penniless and cannot afford to pay his college debts. This work reimagines Poe as a teen and the circumstances that may have led to his macabre poetry and his untimely death. Winters strategically creates a physical being, Lenore the Muse, as a metaphor for passion or dreams, a theme that rings true as Poe tries to ignore and escape his gothic poetry until it nearly kills him. Although the plot moves slowly, teen fans of Poe's poetry will learn about his life and the included verses will create new fans.
VERDICT Purchase where Edgar Allan Poe and Winters's books are popular.

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