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Friday, April 27, 2012

From the Vault: Breadcrumbs and Juniper Berry

Since the following two books make up part of the Prize Pack of Pure Awesome today, I thought it might be a good time for a look back at what I thought of them as today's From the Vault.  So instead of a synopsis in the description box, you'll find a quote from my review, and a link to the full review. :)
Both of these books are out in stores now, and both are excellent - in fact, Breadcrumbs was one of my absolute favorite reads of all of 2011!

Breadcumbs by Anne Ursu
Fairy Tale, 313 pages
September 27th 2011 by Walden Pond Press
There is a depth of pain to the story that I found really affecting; I didn't expect it to have such a range of experience and emotion. I don't want to turn anyone off by saying this, because it is not like it's some sob story written with the intent of making you cry. (I loathe anything that makes me feel like I'm intentionally being played.) It's just, there's an everyday pain worked into the story. There are broken homes and mental illness and that mix of longings that seem to come at a certain age - the longing to be "grown up" and figure things out coupled with the longing to have things remain easy and carefree and the same. The story is deceptive in its simplicity: a contemporary retelling of a fairly unknown fairy tale that is layered with understanding of human nature, issues of self-identity, crises of faith and a friendship so fierce its heartbreaking. It's full of these melancholic little word-gems. Which, yes, sounds a lot more emo than I'd intended it to, but that doesn't make it any less true.

Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky
Fantasy, 227 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by Walden Pond Press
Goodreads| Amazon
I loved all of the other characters, especially Juniper. She's smart and quirky and strong, and above all else, she knows herself. She knows who she is and what she wants (which is kinda the point of the whole thing), and beyond just loving this personally, I think it sends a powerful and much-needed message to young readers. I love having a character for this age group who is so self-aware and confident in who she is. I love that she's not ashamed of her intelligence and her interests. Juniper knows who she is and says so proudly. The book as a whole is a great statement on insecurity and acceptance, and it's refreshing and welcome. That's why, if you know a kid who will be able to handle the darker elements, I would highly suggest recommending them (or gifting them!) this book.

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