Book Review: A Tangle of Knots

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Title/Author:  A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff

Genre:  Middle Grade, Magical Realism, Coming of Age

Published:  February 12th, 2013 by Philomel

ARC, 288 pages

How I Got This Book: Received the ARC via Shelf Awareness giveaway

Why I Picked It Up?:  I am a sucker for beautiful and vibrant covers, and this cover is just wonderful!  Plus I have been on the lookout for standalone MG novels, so when I stumbled upon this one I knew that I wanted to get my hands on this one!

Book Jacket Blurb:  “In a remarkable world where many people are blessed with a special Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal ability for cake baking…and no idea of the journey that Fate set in place for her the moment she was born.  This story falls into place like a magnificent puzzle and will have readers wondering about Fate and the way we’re all connected for a long time to come.”

My Review of this Work:

A magical world filled with Talented people. An orphan who loves baking (and sharing her recipes). One lost luggage store that brings many people together in a Fateful way.

A Tangle of Knots is one of the MG releases for this year that I was super excited about reading!  I have wanted to get my hands on different genres of MG novels this year, and so when I stumbled upon this magical realism gem, I knew I wanted to read it.

For a slated MG novel, I found this book to be surprisingly complex.  As the title suggests, A Tangle of Knots takes many different characters and tangles their lives together very unexpected ways.  Lisa Graff just weaves and weaves, and the best part is that you don’t even really notice.  Her writing style is effortless, and the transitions between so many characters is a lot smoother than one would expect.  She truly knows how to write with such lyrical language that just grabs you from the very beginning and doesn’t let you go until the very end.

As I mentioned, there are a lot of characters in this rather short book.  At least ten different characters, in fact.  And each of them gets their own chapters told from their perspectives.  This sounds both confusing and like you wouldn’t get much development from any of them.  Yet, magically, as the reader you really get to know each and every character in this novel.  I think this has something to do with the fact that every single detail about every character is important, so you don’t get a lot of “fluff” information like other stories give.  Each sentence is intentional and serves a purpose to develop the character it pertains to and the story as a whole.  I was just blown away by the intricacy of this novel.  If I didn’t know it, I really wouldn’t think that this was a MG novel.

As Fashion Star likes to say, this book is a two-fer.  On the one hand, you get a fantastically magical story.  On the other hand, you get like 12 different cake recipes that all sound oh so very delicious!  As a reader who also loves to bake, I really love finding recipes in my books!  And these recipes are so much a part of the story, which adds a completely different dimension to this novel!  And I must say, I made one of the cakes in this book, added a couple of twists, and it was absolutely delicious!  So they taste just as great as they sound!

This is one of those books I would recommend to anyone who loves magical realism.  There is just something about this story that sticks with you.  Through the lyrical language, you really do fall in love with the characters of this novel, and the ending leaves you with ooey gooey-ness.  Oh, and hungry for cake!

Plus, this is a STANDALONE!  So no waiting for more.  This is it, and it is more than enough.  =)

One observation of note:  On the back of this ARC it states that the age range is 8+ years, for 3rd grade and up, which puts this book right at the youngest side of MG.  Honestly, there are some rather advanced ideas conveyed in this novel, and the eloquent language seems to be aimed toward a reader who is a little bit older.  Just keep that in mind.

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Fourth Shelf Book!

I found this book to be a quick and pleasant read.  The characters, though there were many of them, were so likeable, and each plays a role in the Fate of this novel!  Plus, there were many yummy cake recipes!  Overall, this was just a magical experience for me, and I love magical experiences!

Love and Spiced Honey Cake (which was a hit with my coworkers!),

Jennifer

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