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by Cat Hellisen

Published by Henry Holt, 2015
197 pages
ISBN: 978𢠪05099805

Ages 1114

After 12-year-old Sarah抯 mother leaves, her depressed father takes Sarah to stay with her grandparents, whom she抯 never met. In the old castle where her grandmother lives, Sarah discovers her grandfather is a beast in a cage. Once a vain prince, he chose the prettier of two foster sisters to wed for her beauty rather than love. The other sister cast a spell: He would become a beast if he ever fell in love with his wife. Now his wife, Sarah抯 grandmother, is bound to him; she will die if she leaves. In retaliation Sarah抯 grandmother turned her foster sister into a white raven, a curse that will last until the death of the one her sister loves the most: her daughter, Sarah抯 mother. Meanwhile Sarah抯 father, who inherited his father抯 curse, has turned into a beast beyond reason because he lost his love, while Sarah抯 mother has turned into a wren. The magic and curses are thick and capricious in this fast-paced story, and that抯 part of the point: Jealousy and revenge weave thorny, tangled, complex webs, and cutting through them to the heart and the truth of things isn抰 easy. Cat Hellisen抯 immensely satisfying offering doesn抰 end with happily ever after, and it抯 richer for it. But smart, spirited Sarah, discovering she, too, has inherited the beastly curse, finds balance and peace, learning to live with the wild inside her.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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