Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She's grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn't know that it's magic her parents are running from.Read more...
Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She's grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn't know that it's magic her parents are running from.
When Sarah's mother walks out on their family, all the strange old magic they have tried to hide from comes rising into their mundane world. Her father begins to change into something wild and beastly, but before his transformation is complete, he takes Sarah to her grandparents people she has never met, didn't even know were still alive.
Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family bloodlines, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast . . . unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-12-15
- Reviewer: Staff
Thirteen-year-old Sarah is lonely, and it only gets worse after her mother leaves following a late-night argument. Sarah’s distraught father lets the house fall into disarray and soon sends Sarah to stay with her grandparents. To Sarah’s shock, her grandmother lives in a ruined castle deep in the forest, but that’s nothing compared to meeting a talking white raven and discovering that her grandfather has been transformed into a beast, “great and gray, with coarse fur like matted wires, teeth as long as her fingers, eyes like lost planets.” With the help of a slippery boy named Alan, Sarah searches for a way to free her family from the complex web of curses afflicting them all. Blending modern-day problems and ancient magical curses, Hellisen’s (When the Sea Is Rising Red) novel sparkles like a classic fairy tale, even as it plumbs unpleasant truths. Sarah is precocious, independent, and strong-willed, and the story brims with thought-provoking insights and lyrical descriptions for readers to sink into—especially those who, like Sarah, dream of finding magic in the mundane. Ages 12–up. Agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Feb.)
Beauty and the beast
BookPage Teen Top Pick, February 2015
If you discover a magical world through some kind of portal, that’s one thing. Wardrobes and rabbit holes make it easy to believe you’ve left the real world behind. But what if you live in a normal house with normal-enough parents and attend school with other normal kids, and something starts to change, to twist even as you go about your daily life? That would be a bit harder to accept.
Sarah’s life had only a tinge of the weird: Her parents fought a lot; her mother wasn’t very affectionate; and they moved more often than the average family, or at least for no good reason that Sarah could see. The night her mother leaves for good, however, is the final push that changes everything. Sarah’s father seems to fall apart and ends up taking her to live with grandparents she didn’t even know she had. It’s just a long drive in a car—no special doors or portals needed—but the world is definitely different.
As Sarah comes to acknowledge that things are not what they seem—that her father is not falling apart so much as changing into a beast, that her grandfather already is one and that her grandmother’s anger is a powerful thing—she decides to find out the truth about this magic, this curse, this story of love and revenge. Her determination to remain human through it all is the heart of this wonderful, compelling story. Beastkeeper is highly recommended for lovers of fairy tales with a twist.