The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull

25431173After nearly a decade spent running from their grief, Clare Macleod and her geologist father are returning home to Ireland.  Home to the house in the hill with the ancient yew tree growing inside it and the one glassless window always kept open for the fairies.  Home to the sea.  Home to her mother’s ashes, left behind on the mantel.  And home to the Strange, although the Strange has followed Clare all her life.

Some people call the Strange fairy-makings, although Clare has long ago grown past believing in fairies – or at least she thinks she has.  For the first time since she lost her mother, Clare feels a sense of belonging.  She belongs to the green hills, the ruins of the old castle nearby, the twisting roots of her tree holding her safe to the earth, and to her old childhood Finn, now just as grown-up as she is, and still believing in fairies, because he is one.

But a dark creature stalks the old fairy roads, hunting for Clare and for Finn, thirsty for vengeance and desperate to ensure an old prophecy never comes true.  Clare must learn, and quickly, how to take hold of her mother’s legacy, find the hidden keys to gates long closed, and walk the old ways to save not only the land of fairy, but all the world.

Chasing through twilight dreams, old forests, ancient cliffs, and through the very roots of the earth, this novel reads like the sort of dream you have just before waking.  Vibrant, powerful, and twisty, Katherine Catmull’s lush, lyrical language will completely fold you in to Clare’s story.   Lovely and deliciously nightmarish, this one’s for anyone who loves the old stories.  Don’t miss this modern fairy tale at the library!

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

pax 1Pax and Peter have been together since Peter was a small boy and Pax was just a kit.  Pax knows everything about his boy – when he’s hurt, when he’s anxious, when he’s happy, when he’s hungry.  Pax knows it’s his job to look after Peter, so when his boy and his boy’s father drive away, leaving Pax behind, Pax is frantic.  How will he protect Peter if Peter is gone?

When Peter’s father tells him he must leave his beloved fox behind, Peter knows it’s wrong.  But his father is going to fight in the war, leaving Peter with his gruff grandfather far away from their home near the front, and his grandfather’s house is no place for a fox.  But Peter is only with his grandfather for a few hours before he makes a plan, packs his backpack, puts his boots on, and sets out into the night to trek the three hundred miles home – to Pax.

pax 2A tale both simple and complex, this is a tale of family, both the family that is ours and the family we find, the terrible and brutal cost of war, the freedom of friendship, and the unbreakable love between a boy and his fox.  Sara Pennypacker, of Clementine fame, has written a novel that humans and foxes of all ages should take home and tuck away inside their heart as soon as possible.  As Pax and Peter move toward each other through a landscape both bleak and beautiful, they both encounter compassion, bravery, fear, violence, truth, and a great deal of love.  Don’t miss this one!

Dreamers Often Lie by Jacqueline West

dreamersI’ve been waiting weeks to write about this book!!  Jacqueline dropped off an advanced reader’s copy for me this winter and I went home and devoured it immediately, but I thought it would be cruel to review her new book so long before it was published.  But we’re finally here (well, it comes out this Tuesday, but close enough!!), and I’m so excited to share its awesomeness!

When Jaye wakes up in the hospital, she has no memory of how she got there.  She does know she needs to get out, now, skull fracture notwithstanding – Jaye hates hospitals, especially after what happened to her dad, and she’s afraid of losing her leading role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream if she’s out of school much longer.  Which means she can’t tell anyone, especially not her mom, about how bad the headaches really are, or about how Shakespeare, Romeo, Macbeth, and Ophelia all seem to have no problem appearing out of thin air to offer advice, make cryptic comments, quote vaguely, drip on the rug (ahem, Ophelia) or otherwise act oddly.  Because it’s totally not odd to have conversations with Shakespeare and his characters.

So when Romeo turns up in her anatomy class with his smoldering eyes and gorgeously tousled hair, Jaye does her best to ignore him.  And when that doesn’t work, she tries to get him to go away.  So when Romeo turns out to be new student Rob Mason from Portland, Jaye is both humiliated and terribly confused – how is it possible that she recognized him from her hallucinations?  A boy she’s never actually met before?  A boy who kissed her wrist in the snow while petals fell around them – something she knows never really happened – right?

This is just the beginning of a fever dream through Jaye’s fight to hold on to her sanity, keep her family in the dark, keep her starring role, stitch together her shattered memories of the accident, keep her memories of her father locked up in the dark and pull herself into the light.  But how do you do all that when you’re not sure from one moment to the next if you’re dreaming or awake?

Twisty and labyrinthine, confusing in all the right ways, dreamy and nightmarish with plenty of swoon, reading this is just like immersing yourself in Shakespeare.  Dreamers will pull you in and under and twist you around until you won’t be able to tell the difference between dream and reality.  This is Jacqueline West’s first book for teens after finishing off The Books of Elsewhere, I can’t wait to see what one of our very favorite local authors dreams up next!

Get Your Shopping On!

This weekend marks the first book sale of the year here at the Red Wing Public Library.  The Friends of the Library are going to keep this one going after the weekend, and the deals just get better and better.

Friday, April 1st: 1-5 pm FOL Members Only.  Don’t worry, you can become a member and get early shopping privileges plus do something really great for the Library.

Saturday, April 2nd: 9-2 pm  Open to the Public

Monday, April 4th: 10 am  Open to the Public. Clearance sale; a grocery bag full of books for just $1!

In addition to excellent bargains for 50 cents, you can also find rare books at the sale.  There will be a silent auction for selected volumes, too.  Remember to bring your own bags and boxes to take your treasures home in.  We’ll see you this weekend in the Foot Room!