Welcome, readers! I'm excited to introduce you to this week's recommendation for your To Be Read pile: The Story Web by Megan Frazer Blakemore. I just finished the last page, so forgive me if I'm less eloquent than usual. A good book will flood you with emotion and sometimes your words get swept away.
(Thanks, Net Galley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review.)
When Alice was little, she found a gigantic spider web deep in the forest. Her dad called it the Story Web and told her how its strands were woven from the stories that hold our world together.
Years later, Alice's dad has gone away for reasons Alice is sure are her fault. Now she won't even talk about her dad and definitely no longer believes his farfetched stories. But when animals in town start acting strangely, she can't ignore them. The Story Web is in danger--and the fabric of our world is breaking. The only way to mend it is to tell honest tales from the heart, even if they are difficult to share.
In this magical tale of truth and honesty perfect for fans of Katherine Applegate, Megan Frazer Blakemore deftly weaves fantasy into the real world.
This is a wonderful book, and as Goodreads says, truly would live comfortably next to the works of Katherine Applegate--one of my favorite middle grade authors. It has that same melancholy truth of childhood pain with a brilliant, uplifting ending.
The Story Web is told in alternating viewpoints between Alice, Lewis, Melanie, and the animals. The multiple POVs allow entry into the story for a variety of children--athletes and bookworms, popular kids and misfits, boys and girls. The alternating chapter headers clearly delineate when the story is told from a human perspective or from the eyes of the forest animals.
It's a story of friendship, love, mental illness, PTSD and gossip, but told in an enchanting way. With a strong message of lifting each other up and listening to everyone's voice, this is a story with a deep message as well as being a highly entertaining read. It's richly woven with the complications of adult life that seep into childhood--conversations about mega-marts and industry, about the environment and the emotional health of the town, about mental illness and PTSD, and what makes a hero. It dissects the hero's journey while being a hero's journey--an irony I appreciated. It fosters a love of animals, of teamwork, and of story. (Also, hockey. My son will love the hockey bits as much as the animals.)
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