The Lie Tree
Well, this is my first post-ALA conference entry and the first of the many many many wonderful books I received while attending.
This book was definitely the buzz of the ALA with talk of potential predicted awards being whispered in hushed tones. I certainly recommend getting in on the action before a Printz award gets slapped on the cover. You're welcome for your feeling of smug satisfaction when that happens.
In The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge writes a tale that will enchant lovers of historical fiction and mystery alike. Even if you just love an expertly crafted story by someone who knows how words work, this is for you. I described this book to a friend as "a spooky Mary Downing Hahn-ish atmosphere with a Charlotte Doyle-like hero." And I stand by that. Faith, the main character is a clever girl who lives in an age where girls, and women, are expected to be anything but. Her dark journey sheds light, for the reader, on the time in which she lives and the subjugation that the "fairer sex" endured. At first, Faith treats her intelligent nature as a curse or a sickness. She is convinced that, by embracing this nature, she will fall further and further away from salvation. Only when she discovers that the women around her are more than they appear is she able to be reconcile to her true self.
I mean, that's one small aspect of it. Aside from being just bonkers well-written, this book is exciting, mysterious, and creepy AF. This is another "light YA" in that, while it has a lot of mature depth to it, I think it can (and should) be enjoyed at many levels. I don't remember any cussing and what sexual content there may be is gorgeously Victorian-ized with those charmingly sexist euphemisms that not only make the book completely harmless for middle-grade readers, but also helps to establish the time period in which the story takes place. Horray!
Hardinge, F. (2016). The Lie Tree. New York, NY: Amulet Books