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*Ingledove* by Marly Youmans - tweens/young adult fantasy book review



by Marly Youmans
Grades 6-9 208 pages Farrar, Straus & Giroux April 2005 Hardcover    

Ingledove and her brother, Lang, arenít yet out of high school, but they have already buried their childhood. Their mother and home are buried on the opposite side of an artificial lake, crushed at the word of the Tennessee Valley Authority to help America win against a larger flood. They have no home to go back to and no family to take them there. But when their nurse tells them to visit their motherís grave on the far edge of the lake, they go, afraid to have nothing else to fear.

This is Marly Youmans' second journey into the realm of Adantis. Maybe itís because itís her second book, maybe itís only because she enjoys a sea voyage, but sheís a much better guide this time around. This confidence lets her show off Adantis in all its danger and glory. Adantis is an inescapably American fantasy realm, proud of its mixed magical heritage, quick to reward both independence and hospitality, and somehow boundless, Adantis may be the closest neighbor to Frank L. Baumís Oz.

Ingledove and her friends are also more solid than Youmansí previous Adantans. Ingledove is smart, loyal, and kind, but never preternaturally so. Her steady character supports the perfect balance of the people and relationships around her. The sibling affection between Ingledove and Lang is marked with annoyance and teasing without moving into cruelty or forgetting the casual, unbreakable closeness of family. A fairyís supernatural perfection becomes a frightening thing next to Ingledoveís human reality. Youmans outdoes herself in Ingledoveís relationship with Witchfinder Jarrett. The chemistry between them is never forced or artificial, and their friendship carries the charge of future romance without ever becoming romantic, sexual, or frustrating for Ingledove or the reader.

This is a book of magical beauty, as captivating and dangerous as the magic of Adantis. Ingledoveís journey takes her through danger, pain, and sad farewells, but the beauty of Adantis softens the bitterest moments. The final farewell, when Ingledove has to be left behind in the turn of a page, brings all the sorrow that should come from leaving fairyland. There are two spells against that final farewell: one, that Ingledove will walk her hills again; and two, that Youmans might soon lead another voyage into Adantis.

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