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Reviewed by:
  • Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
  • April Spisak
Hellisen, Cat     Beastkeeper.     Holt, 2015     [208p]
ISBN 978-0-8050-9980-5     $16.99
Reviewed from galleys                                                            R*     Gr. 6-9

In this elegant, lyrical, and startling original fairy tale, Sarah’s family is cursed on both sides, and she is caught in the middle, resisting the effects on herself while also trying to save her strange but beloved parents. Her father is doomed to become the same beast that her grandfather is now, and her mother has been transformed into a bird. It’s all a lot to absorb, particularly since Sarah only learned about it when she was dumped at her grandparents’ home a few days earlier. Thirteen-year-old Sarah is confused and frightened by the complex curse, but she manages to put together pieces of the puzzle, sometimes with the help of the mysterious and ageless Alan, who has been around for decades and shares what he knows as necessary. There is no true happy ending possible, but Sarah’s made of sturdy stock, and she’ll take happy enough and do quite nicely with it. While there are hints of “Beauty and the Beast” here, this is a story all its own, and older fans of fairy tales and their retellings will revel in this poetic, tragic, epic story of a girl who is faced with the worst of what people can choose and instead decides to step outside of the curse and make her own way. [End Page 356]



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