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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old




*The Curse of the Raven Mocker* by Marly Youmans - young readers book review

 
 



 

The Curse of the Raven Mocker
by Marly Youmans
Ages 9-12 288 pages Farrar, Straus & Giroux September 2003 Hardcover    

Adantaís life in the shadow of the Smoky Mountains is wild and unrestrained, almost a paradise for an independent thoughtful girl. But when her father goes missing and her mother follows a sorcerer into the shadowy fantasy lands of the Hidden Ones, Adantaís childhood comes to an end. Following the trail of her motherís admonishments into the mountains, Adanta slides into the otherworld of the mountains, one full of spirit people, and sorcerers, where words are magic and superstition is sound advice.

Adanta is a strong, likeable girl, willing to take risks for a purpose but never careless, friendly without being naive. Her adventures are believably grueling; the tension is real, never manufactured. Youmansís world of the Hidden People, living somewhere behind and within the Smoky Mountains, is a fascinating land with its own logic and reality, and as much fantastic potential as L. Frank Baumís Oz. The citizens Adanta meets strike a perfect balance between hospitality and alieness. At times itís hard to say whether Adanta is struggling to fit in a fantasy world, or just dealing with the culture shock of any expatriate in a foreign land.

The ending of The Curse of the Raven Mocker is both harsh and abrupt. The small dose of hope hidden in the larger dose of bitterness may be too much for younger readers. But as a story about adolescence, about the time of life when choice begins to carry real weight and freedom demands real sacrifices, it fits. The Curse of the Raven Mocker may not find a wide audience, but those who do resonate with its promise of change and chance will love this book as few others.
   
Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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