Children's books and book reviews - reading resource for kids, teachers, librarians, parents

Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*The Amaranth Enchantment* by Julie Berry- young adult book review  
The Amaranth Enchantment
by Julie Berry
Grades 9+ 320 pages Bloomsbury USA March 2009 Hardcover    

Some people are just meant to be storytellers. Julie Berry, author of the stunning novel The Amaranth Enchantment, is one such person. As if written with a magical quill, this enthralling fiction weaves a fantasy world with a touch of myth and history interlaced with fairy tale elements. Add a dash of romance and tragedy to the mixture, and what forms is an adventure so stirring it will have you captivated in its credible reality. It truly has all the ingredients necessary to make it a bestseller.

Think Cinderella – rags to riches, prince, fairy godmother and a ball, and you’ve got an idea of the story’s frame. We enter Berry’s world through the eyes of 15-year-old Lucinda Chapdelaine. Poor, friendless and ill-treated by her wicked aunt, her real troubles begin when the mysterious Amaranth Witch visits her aunt’s jewelry store and presents them with a mesmerizing stone. But the stone soon brings great danger and difficulty. Why is another shadowy figure after it? Who should Lucinda trust? These questions and more are raised as you journey through Berry’s spellbinding narrative.

Thanks to Lucinda’s wilfulness and witty insight, each page moves along swiftly. The most amusing character comes in the form of Peter; scruffy and filthy pickpocket though he is, he is also charming in his own self-serving way. Then there is Prince Gregor, who makes Lucinda’s heart melt, and his sugar-spun princess bride-to-be, not to mention Lucinda’s pet goat which she names Dog – all of whom add to the rich texture of the story. Nothing is what it seems in The Amaranth Enchantment, and surprises will pop up in the least expected places, taking your breath away.

What is impressive about this lush fairy story is that Lucinda does not rely on a man to rescue her in her many dark moments. She is likeable because she does not behave as a girl ‘should’. She is both brave and compassionate in her quest to retrieve the stone from unlikely hands and reclaim the stately home in which she grew up from the Amaranth Witch.

The most sinister part of The Amaranth Enchantment revolves around her parent’s untimely death and the workings of an evil lawyer. Some scenes have a dark realism about them evocative of the tales from Brothers Grimm. The novelist clearly has a love of children’s literature and knows how to both unsettle her readers and make them happy.

You can imagine this book being turned into a film—it is that good. Hard to put down, you will think about it over again until you have gotten to that last page. Even then you will ask yourself, why did it have to end?

A perfect book for teenagers and an extraordinary read for adults, Julie Berry’s exciting debut, The Amaranth Enchantment, has no flaws. Bloomsbury seem to have a knack for picking promising authors.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

click here to browse children's board book reviews
click here to browse children's picture book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young adult book reviews
click here to browse parenting book reviews
web reviews
  Payal Patel/2009 for curled up with a good kid's book  

For grown-up fiction, nonfiction and speculative fiction book reviews,
visit our sister site Curled Up With a Good Book (