Monday, October 27, 2008


Argh. My car has been totaled. Now it's just a headache of paperwork as we get the insurance sorted and have to buy a new car.

BUT! The election is only 8 days away! YAY! And, in getting ready, make sure you participate in Chasing Ray's Blog the Vote! My entry will feature a distinguished gentleman standing on a table, room service, death-defying election parties, an ex-boyfriend with an adorable accent, and my odd Chinese vocabulary. Look forward to it.

So, is Rumpelstiltskin the new, hot fairy tale? Often overlooked, this summer saw TWO brand-new young adult retellings. Despite using the same source material, these books are very different from one another. To the point where I feel it's weird to compare the two, even though one would think that would be a no-brainer!

A Curse Dark as Gold Elizabeth C. Bunce

After their father dies, Charlotte Miller and her sister Rosie are alone in the world, and the last of the Miller line. Stirwaters Mill has always been owned by a Miller, and always been slightly cursed. Not that Charlotte believes in such things, but if she's going to keep the mill going and the townspeople who depend on it together, she better start believing, because there are some things logic doesn't explain away.

Charlotte can fight the external forces trying to end her mill all see wants, but there is still a run of bad luck that can't be helped. Then there is the odd little man who comes and can spin straw into golden thread and can fix ruined cloth, but his prices are getting too high to pay.

Rooted in English lore and set at the start of the Industrial Revolution, Charlotte's fight to hold her world together all by herself sucks the reader in and doesn't let go. You know the mill and the cottage system that maintains the village is eventually doomed, but you can't help not root for her as she tries to keep it alive just a little longer.

The Crimson Thread Suzanne Weyn

New York, 1880, and Bridget's family is fresh off the boat from Ireland. Eventually, her father lands a job as a carriage man in a rich man's household. He then boasts that his daughter is the best seamstress this side of the Atlantic and gets her a job. Bertie's skills aren't that great, but she learns quickly, and when push comes to shove the mysterious scoundrel Ray Stalls is there to help her out, until it all falls apart.

With the exception of the fact that Bridget is supposedly descended from Irish faerie queens, this is a fairy tale without magic, which I really liked and I wonder why Weyn included the faerie queen bit. Well, I guess I liked the concept, but the Irish thing felt stereotypical (although her father didn't drink) and the ending felt rushed. However, I did like this title, although it's not my favorite in the Once Upon a Time series or my favorite of Weyn's.


Julie said...

Hey, Jennie! How have you been? I looked for you on Facebook when I saw this YALSA announcement. You would be the perfect one to host a session on what's new in YA Lit! I'm sorry the blogging idea for a session didn't work out. The MLA conference committee meets again on Nov. 17. If you're interested in leading the What's New in YA Lit session at that link, let me know and I will get you in touch with the committee planning the May 2009 conference.

Ana S. said...

Both sounds great, especially the first. I've yet to read any of the books in the Once Upon a Time series. Must amend that soon.

Ms. Yingling said...

I enjoyed Curse as Dark as Gold, as did our school secretary, but it was very lenghthy and the market in middle school will be limited. If you liked this, you should pick up some of Donna Jo Napoli's books like Zel or Spinners (another Rumplestiltskin!).