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*The Gift Moves* by Steve Lyon - tweens/young adult fantasy book review


The Gift Moves
by Steve Lyon
Grades 6-9 240 pages Laurel Leaf July 2006 Paperback    

In a future society where everything is based on gifts, Path Down the Mountain gives up almost all of her possesions and leaves her hometown in the mountains of Boon for the coast, where she will be apprenticed as a Hand to the famous weaver Heron. For five years, she will study the art that is weaving. She will dye hundreds and hundreds of yards of cloth, and her life will belong to Heron.

When she gets where she's going, Path is put to work immediately. However, not everything is about work, though Heron would like it to be. Path also meets a boy from the bakery next door. Bird becomes her friend, and Heron doesn't like it. Heron believes that Path's life belongs to her, and her alone, until Path is free and no longer a Hand.

In The Gift Moves, Path guards her secrets carefully. She doesn't plan on sharing the secrets of her past with anyone, but Bird can make her open up like no one else-and that scares her. Her story is a precious gift, and one she doesn't think she wants to share, no matter how much it hurts her to keep it to herself; she thinks it would hurt even more to share.

Path and Bird's world is one that is similar to our own. People will always be similar, no matter what time they live in, and that's one of the reasons that books become popular no matter if they're set far in the past, in the future, or in the present. The Gift Moves takes place in a future world that is a bit like that of Lois Lowry's The Giver, in that the daily way of life has become simpler, but there are other things that sometimes compensate for it. Life in Path and Bird's world is quite different; batteries and lights, for instance, grow on trees. Buses are living organisms. Cats can even talk, saying names and a few simple words.

The story Steve Lyon tells is easy to follow, though the reader does not know everything right from the start. The story unwinds as it goes, showing more and more of what is going on, but it also remains simple and clear. The language is also simple and clear, but perhaps a bit different from what readers may be used to. It is a fairly interesting and original story that is told in The Gift Moves as well; still, though, something about it isn't as attention-grabbing as it could be. It feels like a book with a lot of potential, but it doesn't quite live up to that. The characters, too, could use a bit of work.

The Gift Moves is a good book, though, despite these flaws. It's certainly a story worth reading, and I look forward to more from Steve Lyon. His future work could be even better; he certainly has potential. It's a nice story, but I might suggest checking this one out from the library rather than purchasing a copy.

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  Jocelyn Pearce/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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